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The two of them — newly minted New York lawyers on the payroll of a solo practitioner who has known them since they dressed in diapers — have the sisterly habit of completing one another’s thoughts. “Do you have any idea what it’s like working for your father?” asks Elena Razis. She nods toward Callie. Four brown eyes roll. “You can’t make a single mistake!” said Callie Razis. “My friends are always saying to me, ‘Oh, you can take the day off,’ ” said Elena. “ Well, it’s so not about that.” “We’ve worked in our father’s office since we were 8 and 10,” said Callie, the younger of the Razis sisters. “Mostly secretarial work. But now things have drastically changed. No more excuses! We have our degrees; we have the resources.” “There’s so much more expectation on [Dad's] part,” said Elena. “Meaning so much more delivery on our part.” “We have conferences with our father,” said Callie. “Which can be difficult.” “At the office, we try really hard not to refer to him as our father,” said Elena. “Or to call him Dad.” “It’s an adjustment,” said Callie. “For everybody, including the clients. They’ve known us since our hair was in pigtails.” “Oh, I get upset when clients call and say, ‘Can I talk to your daddy?’” said Elena. “He is my employer. And I am 28 years old!” “At first, they were a little hesitant,” said Callie. “They wondered if we knew what we were doing. But now they’ll say, ‘Mr. Razis, if you tell me your daughters can handle this, then that’s okay,’ ” said Callie. The employer/papa in question is George Razis. In 1965, he co-founded the firm of Razis & Ross, specializing in serving the large Greek-American community of Astoria, N.Y. His partner, Stephen Ross, went on to a teaching post at St. John’s University School of Law. Although now living in retirement in Florida, Professor Ross still handles some matters for his namesake firm. “Callie and Elena always had things to do — filing, Xeroxing, that sort of thing,” Ross recalled of the sisters’ pigtail days. “Now they’re lawyers. They’re both very ambitious and eager. There’s no arrogance about them. George always made sure he took care of them — and everybody else — but the girls were never spoiled.” “I’ll tell you the truth, I couldn’t get along without them,” said Razis of his unspoiled daughters. “Not to mention I couldn’t get along without the boss.” OFFICE MANAGER MOM The boss would be Razis’ wife, Elaine, who works for the firm as office manager. Besides the managerial duties, Mrs. Razis heads up her own title company. “I need the girls because it’s too busy around here,” said Mr. Razis. “I don’t even look at the TV because I don’t have time. Like today, it’s back-to-back clients. One’s bringing over these cell phones from China, the other one’s buying a restaurant in the Bronx, one’s selling his house in Astoria.” “With my husband so busy,” said Mrs. Razis, completing Mr. Razis’ train of thought, “how can he be seeing the clients and keep his eye on the other things all at once?” The family that works together talks together. This is particularly true of the Razis clan since everybody goes home together at the end of the day, to a full house in Sands Point, N.Y. As the boss explains, “Whatever we have done, we have done it together.” When he was still in New York, at the Astoria law office or in his classroom at St. John’s, Professor Ross knew the dictum well. “When [Mr. and Mrs. Razis] came to visit, they never came alone,” Ross said. “They’d all get in the car, and everybody would come. “Being with somebody all the time like that, and getting along all the time — it’s not for everybody; I know I couldn’t do it,” Ross said. “But after awhile, I just took it for granted. That’s the way they are — a very close-knit family. I admit a certain envy.” GRANDMOTHER’S DREAM A tight family has a way of drawing close friends into the fold. Callie Razis, for instance, took a trial practice class from Ross. As an attorney, she recently closed on a title for her old teacher when he refinanced his home in Florida. Until three years ago, the house in Sands Point was home not to four, but to five, members of the Razis family. Mr. Razis’ mother, the late Helen Razis, died at the age of 90. “Grandmother’s dream was for my sister and me to go to law school,” said Callie. “She came here from Greece, with my father.” “She got us on the last boat out before the war,” Mr. Razis said. “She was hard-working and good with the girls. She gave them a lot of guidance.” “When I’d be at the office working in the early years, she’d be home with the girls,” Mrs. Razis said of her mother-in-law. “Education was very important to her. She was very proud. She carried my husband’s business cards to pass out.” “She’d always make sure we were doing our homework,” said Callie of Grandma Razis. “She never saw us graduate, but she knew we had begun the long haul.” CONGRESSIONAL INTERNS The Razis sisters received their undergraduate degrees from American University in Washington, D.C., where each of them worked as congressional interns — Elena for Senator Daniel P. Moynihan, D-N.Y., and Callie for former Representative Thomas Manton, D-N.Y. Callie went on to St. John’s, while Elena received her juris doctor from the Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, which was founded with the considerable help of her father. “I met some lawyers down there who were trying to start up a law school,” said Mr. Razis. “We’ve got a home on the ocean there in Jacksonville, which I hope some day to retire to.” “That’s why he’s pushing us,” said Elena. “He’s 65 years old.” “I find myself in court at least two or three times a week, handling motions,” said Callie. “Anything from breach of contract, landlord-tenant matters, family disputes, estate work. I’m actually doing an adoption in Surrogate’s Court.” “We’re learning in a more practical way [than most young associates at large firms] because he lets us do more,” Elena said of her father the employer. “He’s not afraid to let us do something. He trusts us; he has confidence in us.” “I think,” said Callie, “that our father started the practice with the hope that we’d help him out.” “There wasn’t any question where they’d go to work,” said Mrs. Razis said of her daughters. “Nobody told them they had to. They know the clients, they speak the language. “ Besides an oral and written fluency in Greek, the Razis sisters can further navigate in French (in the case of Elena) and Spanish (Callie). Both sisters are accomplished pianists and violinists. With such r�sum�s, these two had no options other than working for Dad? Did the Razis sisters interview at other firms? Callie answered for Elena and herself: “Why?”

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