AZB & Partners

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AZB & Partners

AZB & Partners is not an old-school firm by any stretch, having merged into what is now known as AZB in 2004, yet it has managed to create a certain dominance in the Indian corporate legal market. Indeed, the named partners Ajay Bahl, Zia Mody and Bahram Vakil, have built an M&A powerhouse that is engaged in almost every other big ticket deal. The legal services rendered by the firm cover the corporate, commercial, regulatory, financial and tax planning aspects of businesses.<ref> | Businessworld interview </ref>

Some of AZB's big name clients include the Tatas, HDFC, Bharti-Airtel and Reliance, as well as a cross-section of global and domestic private equity funds.

The firm's three founding partners also co-own a legal process outsourcing (LPO) joint venture with Patni Computers, called Bodhi Global. <ref>Global</ref>

Firm's history[edit]

After shifting her base from New York to Mumbai, Zia Mody started her litigation practice under the name CZM (Chambers of Zia Mody) in 1978. For the next 10 years she wore her band and gown to court but then started getting tired of all the adjournments. The Indian economy was opening up at that point and she started getting a lot of referrals from her friends abroad, advising people who wanted to invest in India.<ref>| In Conversation with Zia Mody </ref> Bahram Vakil, who knew Zia from their time in New York, decided to join hands with her and start a partnership in 2001, changing the name to CZB.<ref>They put a llot of jugaad and got cases. | Opportunities sparse for US LLM degree holders</ref> Both of them realized the need to increase operations and start an office in Delhi, which brought in AZB's A, Ajay Bahl. Coincidentally, Ajay Bahl had interned with Soli Sorabjee, Zia's father, before he started his practice from his garage at Malcha Marg. In 2004 the three future AZB founders sat down and worked out the details of the partnership but there was no official document.Provide citation

In 2009, AZB brought on board Bangalore firm Anup Shah and Associates with a specialization in real estate. The aim was to allow AZB to increase its presence in South India with offices in Hyderabad and Chennai. However, after one-and-a-half years Anup Shah's firm and AZB parted ways, partly because of conflicts caused by Shah's strength in real estate and AZB's portfolio of corporate client instructions. But both said they would remain 'best friends' in order to leverage each others core practice areas. <ref> | Breaking: AZB Bangalore merger Anup Shah splits off to go independent again </ref>

Short-lived international best friendship[edit]

AZB and Clifford Chance entered into a best friend relationship in January 2009.<ref>|Clifford Chance joins forces with Top Indian firm</ref> Clifford Chance said at the time that it had hoped to enter into the Indian market if it liberalised in several years, and for cross-border mergers Clifford Chance believed it was essential to have a tie-up with a top Indian firm. A strong incentive for AZB was that Clifford Chance would provide its lawyers with Clifford Chance in-house training and soft skill courses.<ref>| Best friends Relationship ends </ref>

In 2011, both firms broke off their best friend relationship; they said they would remain "good friends". The firms pulled the plug on the relationship because they both saw fewer referrals than expected and the chances of the Indian legal market liberalising had become negligible.<ref> | AZB Clifford Chance Breakup </ref>

Important Deals[edit]

In the past few years, AZB has vetted and drafted contracts and advising its clients on the finer details.

  • Tata Steel’s Singapore $486.4 million-acquisition of NatSteel in 2004
  • Aditya Birla group’s $6-billion acquisition of Novelis in 2007
  • Tata Steel’s $12-billion Corus deal in 2007
  • Tata Motors’ $2.4-billion purchase of Jaguar-Land Rover in 2008
  • In 2009 Tata - Docomo $2.7 Billion (Rs. 13,400 crore) deal.
  • Vedanta’s deal with Cairn India in 2010<ref>| Legally India deal report on Vedanta-Cairn</ref>
  • Bharti’s aborted bid for MTN and later its $8.97-billion deal with Zain in 2010<ref>|Legally India deal on Bharti Zain</ref>
  • Reliance Industries’ (RIL’s) $7.2-billion deal with BP in 2011<ref>| Legally India deal report on Reliance BP</ref>

Careers[edit]

Historically, AZB has focused less on direct campus visits and recruitment than other large Indian law firms, instead preferring to offer jobs via pre-placement offers (PPOs). However, in recent years, AZB has increasingly been visiting law school campuses, though it still recruits lower numbers directly from campus than other firms of a comparable size.

Starting Salary of AZB in Mumbai is 11.4 lakh with a competitive bonus and 9.8 lakh in Delhi.

Recruitment figures for AZB in the 2010-11 academic year were:<ref>Legally India research</ref>

College Number of Students '
NLIU Bhopal 1
NLSIU Bangalore 1
NUJS Kolkata 2
GNLU Gandhinagar 5
HNLU Raipur 1
Nalsar Hyderabad 3
GLC Mumbai 1
Amity Law School, Delhi 1
Total 15

Partners[edit]

Raman Sharma

Offices[edit]

Mumbai AZB House Peninsula Corporate Park Ganpatrao Kadam Marg Lower Parel Mumbai 400 013 Phone No: +91 22 6639 6880

Bangalore No.67/4, Azb House, Near To Java City Restaurant, 4TH Cross, Lavelle Road, Bangalore - 560001 Phone No: +91 80 42400500

Delhi AZB House, Plot NO A8, Sector 4, Noida 201 301 Tel: +91 1204 17 9999

Gurgaon AZB & PARTNERS 602, 6TH Floor, Tower - B Unitech Cyber Park Sector – 39, Gurgaon 122001 Ph. +91 0124 4200296 /297

Pune Onyx Towers, 1101/B, 11th floor North Main Road, Koregaon Park Pune 411 001 Maharashtra India Tel: +91 20 6725 6666

Internships[edit]

Mumbai office[edit]

The Nariman Point office ensures the interns enjoy freedom and still get an insight into the firms working culture, stated an internship review on student website Lawctopus. The associates are friendly and extremely approachable. They also appreciate an intern’s opinion about a legal issue. There is autonomy however monitored by deadlines. An intern if serious can really engage in the work at the firm.

One should apply 5 to 6 months before the desired period of internship by emailing at recruitment.mumbai@azbpartners.com.

Stipend: Rs 3,000 Rating: 9/10 <ref>Internship Survey</ref>

Bangalore Office[edit]

Good work, great location and decent hours, said a reviewer. The workload depends on the team one is working with. But interns are not officially assigned to any team and have the liberty to ask anyone in the office for work. Though this may lead to no systematic workflow, the interns end up enjoying a variety of work. Stipend: Rs 2,500. Rating: 5/10 <ref>Internship Survey</ref>

Rankings[edit]

RSG India[edit]

Consultancy RSG India ranked AZB & Partners as the second-best Indian law firm in 2011. It writes: "The three named partners are all well-respected, although in Mumbai Zia Mody still has a powerful profile. However, there is evidence that some of the younger lawyers are getting recognised by clients who are increasingly happy to instruct them, with Zia supervising from a distance."<ref>[1]</ref>

Legal 500[edit]

Legal 500 writes: "AZB & Partners’ ‘responsive and very commercial’ service represents corporates and banks on a range of financings. The team has 
also acted on various Mumbai-led capital 
markets transactions, including IPOs and bond issuances, for both issuers and underwriters.

"The ‘excellent’ team at AZB & Partners advised Bharti Airtel its $10.7bn acquisition of the pan-African operations of Zain from MTC Telecommunications. It also acted for Vedanta Resources on acquiring a controlling interest in Cairn India. Other clients include Reliance Industries, JFE Steel Corporation and Fortis Healthcare. Zia Mody is ‘outstanding’."

Legal 500 rankings:

  • Corporate M& A: Tier 1
  • Dispute Resolution: Tier 3
  • Investment Funds: Tier 2
  • Projects & Energy: Tier 1

Chambers & Partners[edit]

Chambers & Partners ranks Ajay Bahl, Zia Mody and Bahram Vakil in Band 1.

References[edit]

<references/>

Related Pages[edit]

Offices[edit]

Name Designation Office Focus Graduation year
Zia Mody Founding Partner Mumbai M&A specialist, corporate all-rounder
Ajay Bahl Founding Partner Delhi Tax wizard and M&A, general corporate
Bahram Vakil Founding Partner Mumbai Project finance expert
Ashwin Ramanathan Partner Mumbai
Hardeep Sachdeva Partner Delhi
Anil Kasturi Partner
Vinati Kastia Partner Delhi
Samir Gandhi<ref> http://www.legallyindia.com/201206152892/Law-firms/azb-scoops-elp-delhis-samir-gandhi-to-get-first-hardcore-competition-partner AZB scoops ELP's Sameer Gandhi to get first hardcore Competition Partner]</ref> Partner Delhi Competition law specialist
Gautam Saha Partner Delhi M&A and private equity specialist
Shreyas Jayasimha Partner Bangalore
Srinath Dasari Partner
Saikrishna Bharatan Partner Mumbai
Sunila Awasthi Partner
Allwyn Noronha Partner Delhi
Suresh Varanasi Partner Delhi
Percival Billimoria Senior partner Delhi
Anind Thomas Partner
Abhinav Ashwin Partner
Akhilesh Rai Partner
Meera Singh Partner
Yogesh Bhattarai Partner
Anind Thomas Partner
Varoon Chandra Partner Mumbai
Shameek Chaudhuri Partner Mumbai Capital markets specialist