Areti Georgopoulos strives for harmony in the workplace. Thus, Harmony Law Firm was born. She has been lucky to find harmony in her job and through her volunteering with the HCBA, even if it has sometimes come unexpectedly.
Six months into serving as co-chair of the HCBA Labor and Employment Section, Georgopoulos was representing a client who was having issues with her employer. Negotiations between the parties were not going well, so Georgopoulos’ opposing counsel said that an outside lawyer would be taking over the negotiations, and she would be getting a call from Kurt Erickson.
Fortunately, she knew Erickson—he was the other co-chair of the section. Even though they were on opposite sides of the negotiating table, their previous connections helped the process move along. “I found that it was a very efficient way to resolve the dispute because we already knew each other. There was trust and mutual respect between each other,” she said. “We were able to reach a satisfactory resolution in that case. I did attribute it, in addition to his lawyering skills, and perhaps mine as well, to our effective advocacy. But I also attribute it to the fact that we had been working together.“
Georgopoulos also appreciates that she gets to work with defense counsel in non-contentious settings. She has planned CLE seminars and participated on panels with other labor & employment attorneys. “It's really a space where there is a lot of collegiality, where there is an interest and truly an exchange of ideas, perspectives, and it's just a space that's very conducive to informative and insightful discussion. And it's just building relationships across the aisle if you will,” she said.
The local aspect of the HCBA has also helped the collegiality between all types of labor and employment lawyers. “The HCBA Labor & Employment section was an opportunity to work with defense attorneys and generate ideas for insightful seminars that were relevant to both sides of an employment dispute. I like that from a philosophical perspective,” she said.
The involvement with the HCBA has helped burnish her credentials among her colleagues. “They know who I am and what I do for the HCBA and there is a recognition of my role as a chair, trying to bring together, wanting to have open and informative debates about how we do what we do. I would say the reputation is respected, so it does add a layer of understanding,” she said.
Harmony has become a part of her practice in other ways as well. “Even potential clients will call me and say, I saw your website and your name. I like this idea of harmony,” she said. “I thought on some subliminal level and some direct level I am striving for the resolution and the harmony, even though I am a litigator and tell people that I'm still that fierce advocate. Ultimately, everyone wants resolution and it's all about how we're going to get there. It does very much embody my practice.”