Legal market overview
Artashes Kakoyan -
Investment Law Group LLC
Grigor Minasyan -
AM Law Firm
Edward Mouradian -
- Vardan Stepanyan - K&P Law Firm
- Artashes Kakoyan -
The mining industry is one of the driving forces behind the Armenian legal market, with the extraction of gold and copper activities keeping participants and their counsel busy. However, the problems being encountered by the country’s major trading partners are such that the market is seeing a steady reduction in trade and investments, contributing to a depressed economy. The market is now heavily dependent on agriculture and is also reliant, to a lesser extent, on construction. The country’s trade borders with neighbours Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed, and it was partly to ease the hardship caused by this that a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement was signed with the US in May 2015. There are currently no foreign law firms in Armenia, but local firms do receive referral work.
The ranking is based on quality and scope of service. Therefore, a more narrowly focused practice may be ranked lower than a high-quality competitor with a broader base but may still be considered outstanding in its chosen discipline.
One of the largest law firms in Armenia, AM Law Firm is experienced in trade mark disputes on behalf of luxury goods companies, and also in private client disputes. In the past year it has acted for a private Iranian bank in a dispute over a loan agreement, and for the Armenian branch of an international telecoms company in a real estate dispute. Grigor Minasyan is the managing partner, and is supported by Yeva Arakelyan and chief legal advisers Davit Hunanyan and Vanik Margaryan. Narine Sargsyan focuses on international business, civil and labour law matters, and is also a key contact.
David Sargsyan is the key partner at Ameria Legal and Tax Advisors and heads a team of five other lawyers with a broad range of experience; areas covered recently include telecoms, M&A, airline disputes, aircraft leasing agreements, employment matters – including internal HR and compliance issues – as well as licensing agreements and loans to major mining companies.
Legelata Law firm was involved in a dispute concerning Samsung Electronics before the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition, and its ongoing work includes advising a retail and real estate business in Saudi Arabia, Fawaz Al-Hokair Group, in relation to its franchise, supply and trade mark portfolio. Levon Gevorgyan, Gor Margaryan and David Hakobyan are the key partners in the team, which is experienced in cross-border mandates involving CIS countries.
US-qualified Thomas Samuelian leads Arlex International Ltd’s practice; he has substantial experience in CIS-related matters and advises on corporate and commercial transactions, international trade and finance, tax planning and dispute resolution. The firm also has experience in international arbitration, trade mark infringement, and the real estate, natural resources, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors. Tamar Hajian is another senior partner.
Key figures at Grant Thornton Legal and Tax LLC include managing partner Hakob Tadevosyan and head of legal advisory Aram Poghosyan. The latter recently advised Oikocredit on loan agreements with Armenian financial institutions and assisted Synopsys Armenia in a review of compliance checks and the winding-up process of Synopsys Armenia Fund. HSBC Armenia, Eurasia Metals Corp (Cyprus), Astellas Pharma Europe and Iveco Capital are also clients.
The ‘weighty’ Hovhannisyan & partners LLC is praised as providing ‘punctual advice in a timely manner, and the quality of services is at a master level’. Managing partner Hayk Hovhannisyan ‘is responsive, open, and loyal, and has expertise in Armenia and its neighbouring countries’. The firm was involved in a high-profile action against Ameria Bank in relation to an allegedly unlawful squeeze-out of a minority shareholder.
At Investment Law Group LLC, managing partner Artashes Kakoyan has extensive expertise in mining matters and arbitration. The firm has also been involved in the privatisation of electricity distribution companies, and in regulatory matters on behalf of the government.
K&P Law Firm has ‘an excellent team of highly qualified lawyers who understand the complexities of the financial services market and have an excellent command of the English language’. Managing partner Vardan Stepanyan has ‘thorough knowledge of the financial services market’, and is experienced in restructuring and insolvency work. Anna Hakobyan, who specialises in cross-border transactions, ‘is able to process large volumes of assignments quickly and formulate effective outcomes’. Associate Ani Nargizyan has ‘excellent communication skills, superior research abilities, and a friendly attitude.’ Tatul Khudatyan, who focuses on real estate and banking transactions, is also recommended.
Prudence CJSC has strength in commercial contracts, M&A, financial regulation, civil and commercial litigation, and mining and mineral rights. Its recent work includes advising Rosneft, the Russian oil company, on its acquisition via an SPV of a chain of petrol stations; and acting in a property dispute concerning a sale of real estate and the misappropriation of the proceeds. Edward Mouradian is the managing partner, and Karapet Badalyan is also a key contact.
Concern-Dialog law firm is best known for its telecoms practice, with recent work including advising in relation to licences and the implementation of decisions by the Public Services Regulatory Commission. Elsewhere, the team recently represented Dundee Precious Metals in a dispute concerning the calculation of royalties for mining activities; and acted for the Armenian branch of the Armenian Missionary Association of America in a labour law dispute involving alleged religious discrimination. Varduhi Danielyan and Koryun Tamrazyans left the firm in 2014, while Aram Orbelyan has returned to the team after holding a position as Deputy Minister of Justice.
Armen Melkumyan is the managing partner at Fidelity Consulting CJSC, which has a focus on mining work, in particular matters concerning the extraction of gold and copper. Work highlights included advising Eurasian Development Bank on a number of major financing projects; and advising Canadian group Dundee Precious Metals and Ireland’s Orogen Gold on option, shareholder and royalty agreements relating to their joint venture with local mining companies for exploration and development activities.
Boutique firm Knyazyan & Partners CJSC is best known for its strength in IP, with vast experience across trade marks, domain names, anti-piracy, industrial designs and transactions. Sarkis Knyazyan is a patent attorney; Susanna Nersisyan specialises in copyright law; Liana Balyan is an experienced litigator; and Boris Vardanyan is a senior patent specialist.
Firms in the spotlight
ELL PARTNERSHIP LLC
ELL PARTNERSHIP Law Firm unites high qualified professionals, attorneys at law, arbitrators and mediators, who have strength in dispute settlement, commercial contracts, trust, commercial and complexity management and investment law. Taron Simonyan, Gevorg Tumanov and Norayr Balayan are the key partners in the team, which is experienced in cross-border legal services involving the EEU, EU, UAE and USA.