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AZB & PARTNERS — PROFILE
AZB & PARTNERS, today one of the top law firms in India, came into existence on April 1, 2004. It was a merger of two reputed and locally strong law firms based in Delhi and Mumbai respectively. Ajay Bahl & Co., based in New Delhi, decided to join hands with CZB & Partners, based in Mumbai with an office in Bangalore. The former was headed by Ajay Bahl, a qualified chartered accountant who decided to switch to corporate law in the late 1980s and soon became a well-respected corporate lawyer. CZB & Partners was headed by two accomplished senior corporate lawyers in Mumbai namely, Zia Mody, former attorney general of India and legal luminary Soli Sorabjees daughter and a reputed lawyer in her own right and Bahram Vakil, who had been with Little & Co., one of the oldest law firms in India, for more than 20 years before joining hands with Zia. Both firms had already built formidable reputations of fast growing full services corporate law firms with long standing client relationships and high quality team of lawyers.
The fact that in less than a decade AZB & Partners has established itself as a premier Indian law firm with additional offices in Pune, Chennai & Gurgaon and continues to appear at the top of the table of tier I law firms goes to demonstrate that the faith reposed by the three managing partners of AZB, Ajay, Zia & Bahram in their combined synergies, skill sets, areas of expertise and respective teams, was not only well-placed but quite successful. The presence of experienced and dedicated partners ably supported by well-trained associate teams across offices to provide complete and comprehensive client support has only reaffirmed AZBs leadership position.
The Firm has built a reputation for providing clear, concise and practical advice based on an in-depth knowledge of the legal, regulatory and commercial environment within which its clients operate and a full understanding of their overall business objectives. AZB services are tailored to the needs of individual clients, drawing on the collective knowledge of the Firm and its members. The objective is to add value at all stages of a project, from its initiation, through its planning right up to its execution. The legal services rendered by the Firm cover the corporate, commercial, regulatory, litigation, financial and tax planning aspects of modern businesses. It is probably the only Indian corporate law firm which has dedicated in-house direct and indirect tax teams comprising of seasoned tax professionals. The Firm has a strength of approximately 325 personnel, which includes an integrated team of approximately 250 legal professionals.
The Firms domestic and international clients range from privately owned to publicly listed companies, including Fortune 500 entities, Multinationals, Investment Banks and Private Equity firms. In the course of its practice, the Firm has built close working relationships with specialists, regulatory authorities and several international law firms. The Firm has invested in advanced communications technology, and its offices are connected by a dedicated e-mail link. It has CDROM based libraries, internet capabilities, and state-ofthe- art computer networks. The offices of the Firm are interfaced and work very closely together.
Given the strong human resource base, the Firm has the ability to readily assemble dedicated teams of professionals with the requisite expertise to meet client requirements and to handle large and complex transactions. We are experienced in drafting, negotiating, organising and managing transactions within tight time-scales. Each client has a dedicated partner who coordinates the work and is directly responsible to meet client requirements efficiently. The ability to respond to client requirements and to render the highest level of services is fundamental to the approach of the Firm towards its clients.
AZB core values embrace operating to the highest professional standards and building supportive and strong relationships with clients. These values are communicated throughout the Firm and serve to instil in all our lawyers, a full appreciation of the professional and ethical responsibilities the Firm places upon them.
AZB is committed to enhancing the Firms reputation for client service and firmly believes it is important to build long term relationships with clients in order to anticipate the legal and regulatory implications of commercial opportunities and to resolve problems and disputes affecting clients businesses at an early stage. The Firm is acutely conscious that legal services need to be timely and efficient. The Firm, in consultation with the clients, at the outset determines the nature and extent of its involvement in matters, based on resourcing and monitoring criteria. Most of the Firms client relationships realize and recognize the value of our experience and expertise.
AZB is characterized by professionalism with openness and approachability at all levels. There are no rigid internal structures or hierarchies. We recognize the importance of the contribution of all our people towards enhancing client service.
The Firm is comprised of a diverse mix of backgrounds. We expect our lawyers to have excelled in their academic education. Several professionals in the Firm have studied in premier legal institutions in the United States of America (including Harvard University and Columbia University) and the United Kingdom (Cambridge University, Oxford University and the London School of Economics) and also have the experience of working abroad. Some of our partners are qualified accountants in addition to holding law degrees and have practised accounting with significant emphasis on tax planning and structuring.
It is a priority for all of our lawyers to develop the highest standards of specialised legal skills by means of comprehensive professional training programmes and appropriate involvement in transactions. We invest substantial inventory and partner time in internal training to develop high quality human resources over time.
Our lawyers are members of broad practice areas which work together closely. These practice areas are structured to facilitate the sharing of technical knowhow and the development of a consistently high standard of legal advice across the Firm. The Firm has been involved in advising in the field of mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and general corporate, regulatory practice and securities laws, private equity, capital markets, funds practice, banking and finance, microfinance, derivatives, infrastructure & project finance, real estate, media & entertainment, information technology, e-commerce, retail, business process outsourcing, employment, insurance, intellectual property, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, taxation, aviation, competition law, and litigation and arbitration. The collective experience of all the lawyers at AZB, whether it is transactional, advisory, structuring including cross border, tax litigation at various levels, both direct & indirect, could very well be incomparable.
The Firm advises and assists its overseas clients in establishing and operating their business in India. The Firm has extensively advised overseas investors in setting up an Indian presence through representative/liaison or branch offices, joint ventures or subsidiaries. The Firm has been responsible for advising several of the large Indian business houses in their overseas acquisitions of foreign enterprises as well. The Firm is constantly re-defining its multidisciplinary approach by being responsive to new laws such as the relatively new Indian competition law including by adding key high quality resources or developing skill-sets to offer assistance to clients in corporate investigations or playing pivotal role in forensic matters such as anti-bribery or sexual harassment at workplace.
The Firm is conscious that clients needs do not stop at national borders. We continue to build our Firm to service the developing needs of our clients. Central to our continued success is a single-minded dedication to provide a client market-driven service and anticipating future legal needs in addition to current issues. We constantly develop new services and refine existing ones.
This on-going process enables us to share a wealth of knowledge and information with clients and contacts in the form of research notes and briefings on new and anticipated legal developments across a range of industries and practice areas. Our continued success is largely dependent on recruiting and retaining excellent lawyers from various parts of India. We are a young, enthusiastic and growing firm with a clear focus on the emerging trends in most practice areas.