The Legal 500


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Leading individuals

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    • Aykhan Asadov - BM Morrison Partners LLC
    • Ismail Askerov - MGB Law Offices Limited
    • James Hogan - Dentons
    • Gunduz Karimov - Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited
    • Elchin Mammadov - Omni Law Firm
    • Kamal Mammadzada - Dentons
    • Ilgar Mehti - Ekvita
    • Farhad Mirzayev - BM Morrison Partners LLC
Azerbaijan’s oil-led economy has been affected by the worldwide drop in commodity prices, causing significantly slower economic growth. Oil companies scaling back their operations have generated a wide range of legal work for the market, which contains a range of international law firms and sophisticated local competitors. Construction programmes funded by the nation’s oil wealth are another key source of mandates; the country hosted its first European Games in 2015. The lifting of international sanctions against Azerbaijan’s southern neighbour Iran will be warmly welcomed, but business and government are primarily focused on achieving closer ties with Europe.


The ranking is based on quality and scope of service. Therefore, a narrowly focused practice may be ranked lower in the table than a quality competitor with a broader base, but may still be outstanding in its chosen discipline.

Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limitedprovides a high level of service’. Altay Mustafayev acted as transaction counsel for UBS and Citibank on the creation of a euro-commercial paper (ECP) programme for the International Bank of Azerbaijan; he also advised BNP Paribas on a similar programme for AccessBank. Along with office managing partner Gunduz Karimov, who has ‘wide legal expertise and a broad professional network’, Mustafayev also advised Siemens on the purchase of Rolls-Royce’s gas turbine business in the country. Kamil Valiyev is the key partner for energy, oil and gas and IT matters.

Dentonsprovides services on a high professional level’ and is ‘technically good and commercially practical’. Managing partner James Hogan and Kamal Mammadzade advised Goldman Sachs on the Azerbaijani law issues of a $1.3bn equity financing of SOCAR’s Turkish subsidiary to fund a refinery project. In addition, the firm was transaction counsel for Petronas on its $2.25bn purchase of a 15.5% stake in the Shah Deniz gas field and related midstream infrastructure, the largest energy deal to date in Azerbaijan. Associate Ulvia Zeynalova-Bockin is ‘very thorough’ and has ‘detailed knowledge of the relevant employment legislation’. Of counsel Farhad Hajizade joined from PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal.

MGB Law Offices Limitedprovides timely and insightful advice in relation to corporate law matters’, including financing and M&A. The firm is ‘of real assistance to clients requiring specialist local knowledge’ and is ‘focused on delivering commercial advice that can be relied upon’. Managing partner Ismail Askerov is ‘experienced in general corporate and securities law matters’; he ‘readily makes himself available when required and is able to provide a high level of technical expertise’. Along with Kamal Huseynli, he advised Axa on its purchase of a local insurer and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on the financing of copper and mineral water projects.

Omni Law Firm undertakes a range of work, including financing, M&A, dispute resolution, procurement and construction mandates. Roman Alloyarov advised SOCAR on a $3.3bn financing of the STAR refinery in Turkey and acted for flag carrier Azerbaijan Airlines on a $200m bridge loan for two Boeing 787 aircraft. Ismail Zargarli advised GlaxoSmithKline on the Azerbaijani aspects of an asset swap with Novartis. Other clients include Marriott, Microsoft and GlaxoSmithKline. Elchin Mammadov joined from BM Morrison Partners LLC.

BM Morrison Partners LLCcompares tremendously well with firms practising in countries with a similar profile to that of Azerbaijan’. Its ‘responsive, professional, proactive and effective’ team provides ‘an excellent level of service’ in the banking, finance and capital markets sectors. Delara Israfilova and managing partner Aykhan Asadov are ‘excellent lawyers’; they advised a bank on the $500m financing of a plastics factory. Clients include household names in the pharmaceuticals, financial services, hi-tech and energy sectors.

Deloitte Azerbaijan has experience of advising clients on banking operations, competition law, corporate reorganisations, joint ventures, and due diligence on M&A, as well as human resources and contract negotiations, among others. Vugar Mammadov heads the practice, which acts for a number of well-known international businesses.

Ekvita’s ‘very professional’ team has ‘a very good understanding of the business climate in Azerbaijan’. Anar Karimov advised Expro, a subcontractor of BP on the Shah Deniz gas field, on corporate, employment and regulatory matters; he is also ‘proficient in Islamic finance’. Ilgar Mehti advises Topaz Marine on regulatory, tax and debt recovery matters. The two are ‘standout performers’; they ‘complement each other with their in-depth knowledge of immigration law and government protocols’.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal advises on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious practice areas including employment, telecoms, company formation and transactions. The practice advised cargo airline Silk Way Airlines on aircraft engine lease agreements. Samir Hadjiyev joined from Grata Azerbaijan LLC, but Farhad Hajizade moved to Dentons

Azem & Partners LLC’s experience includes immigration law, construction law, company registrations and tax issues. Construction-sector clients include AZERCON, Hyundai and Azersu, Azerbaijan’s national water utility. Emil Gurbanov is the managing partner.

BHM Baku Law Centre’s team mainly advises on tax, real estate and employment matters. Managing partner Anar Baghirov was elected to the presidium of the Azerbaijan Bar Association in 2012. The firm has a joint venture with Austrian firm Lansky, Ganzger + Partner (LGP).

Ernst & Young Holdings (CIS) B.V., Branch Office in the Republic of Azerbaijan provides ‘very good’ service and ‘clear and helpful advice’ in relation to contentious matters, such as tax disputes, as well as transactional matters such as company registration, human resources and project finance. Clients include major players in the oil and gas, construction and software sectors. Arzu Hajiyeva, who heads the Baku office, is recommended.

IJS Law Firm’s recent work includes advising on a range of M&A, disputes and financial services matters. Akram Hasanov, a former head of legal at the Bank of Baku, is the managing partner.

Michael Wilson & Partners advises on banking, construction and shareholder disputes. Name partner Michael Wilson, who splits his time between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, advised Falck Group on employment, banking and competition issues. Associate Aygun Abbasova is a key contact in Baku.

Firms in the spotlight


EKVITA is a full-service legal and tax consulting firm. In early 2011, the firm merged with a local tax consulting firm established in 1999, thereby significantly expanding its practice areas, and claiming tax consulting as one of its main areas. EKVITA now brings together 15 years of local expertise and knowledge.

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Law firm managing partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in Azerbaijan

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • Updated Cyprus Real Estate Investment Schemes

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  • Doing Business in Azerbaijan 2011

    Doing Business in Azerbaijan 2011 is a general guide for companies operating in or considering investment into Azerbaijan. It is intended to present an overview of the key aspects of the Azerbaijani legal system and regulation of business activities in this country.
  • Registration of Foreign Non-Commercial Entities

    On 16 March 2011, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan enacted Resolution No. 43 approving the Rules for Negotiating and Entering into an Agreement Concerning Registration of Branches and Representative Offices of Foreign Non-Commercial Legal Entities in the Republic of Azerbaijan (the"Rules").
  • Azerbaijan Promotes Export of Oil and Gas Infrastructure and Expertise

    On April 17, 2009, Law No. 766-IIIQ of the Republic of Azerbaijan, On Application of Special Economic Regime to Export Oil and Gas Operations, dated February 2, 2009 (the “Law”), was promulgated. It is understood that the Law is issued in an attempt by the Republic of Azerbaijan to promote exportation, especially, to the Caspian littoral states, of oil and gas infrastructure and expertise accumulated in Azerbaijan over the past years. On November 1, 2009, Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, On Providing for Implementation of the Law, dated October 30, 2009, was promulgated.
  • Doing Business in Azerbaijan

    Doing Business in Azerbaijan has been prepared as a general guide for companies operating in or considering investment into Azerbaijan. It is intended to present an overview of the key aspects of the Azerbaijani legal system and regulation of business activities in this country.

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to
  • Lower VAT On Hotel Services In Montenegro

    An important piece of regulation has been introduced in Montenegro recently, through the reduction of VAT on catering services in four stars hotels (in the north of the country) and five-star hotels (on the seaside), which will be effective from 2018. According to media reports, Olivera Brajović, General Director of Tourism Development and Standards in the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism, pointed out that these reduced tax rates on services of preparing and serving food and drinks are expected to raise the overall competitiveness in the hospitality sector, while at the same time contribute to the combat against grey economy.
  • Karanović & Nikolić Joins The NextLaw Global Referral Network

    Karanović & Nikolić is pleased to announce that it has joined the NextLaw Global Referral Network, created by global law firm Dentons. We are particularly excited by the fact that Nextlaw presents a new type of network, with a unique invitation-only approach in their selection, ensuring that all of its members have the highest quality standards and a proven track record of excellence.
  • Sweet Smell Of Success - Serbian Sugar Industry Consolidates Its Forces

    After more than a four months and a Phase II (in-depth) investigation, the Competition Commission gave conditional approval, to Sunoko's acquisition of the Star Šećer company and its subsidiary Te-To - the owner of the sugar factory in Senta. No divestments have been required from Sunoko.
  • New Bridge Over Danube To Be Built In Belgrade

    News reports are informing us that Belgrade will gain another bridge over the Danube river in the near future – this one at the Ada Huja island and over three kilometres long.
  • Nikola Tesla Airport To Acquire Sava Centar?

    Media outlets have recently been reporting on the possibility that Nikola Tesla Airport will acquire Sava Centar (SC), with the purpose of turning it into its company headquarters. This acquisition would be followed by an investment of over EUR 30 million in the next three years for the building's reconstruction and adaptation. Such a decision would result in Sava Centar changing its name to "Congress Centre Nikola Tesla Airport", with an expanded array of facilities, including a tower, a shopping mall, and a hotel. The funds for the investment in question will be hailing from the Airport's own assets.
  • Too Big To Hide – European Commission Sanctions Truck Cartel

    Global competition law circles have recently been shaken by the European Commission's record-setting fine of EUR 2.93 billion for collusion on the automotive market, imposed against Volvo, Daimler, Iveco and DAF trucks. The sanctions in question varied amongst the accused parties, with Daimler facing the largest penalty in the amount of more than EUR 1 billion on its own. Iveco's fine was set at EUR 494 million, DAF's at EUR 752 million, and Volvo's fine has been set at EUR 670 million.
  • Cartel Office ensures greater competition in rail sector

    The German railway company Deutsche Bahn must allow for more competition. The Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, found that the company had abused its dominant market position with respect to the sale of rail tickets.

    Eterna Law (representative office in Almaty) announces the beginning of co-operation as a legal adviser with the Public Association "Academy of Preventive Medicine of Kazakhstan."
  • LAG Sachsen-Anhalt on video surveillance at the workplace

    Video surveillance at the workplace does not inevitably give rise to claims for damages. That was the verdict of the Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG) Sachsen-Anhalt [Regional Labour Court of Saxony-Anhalt] (Az.: 6 Sa 301/14).
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    Those who still want to withdraw from real estate loans concluded between 2002 and 2010 should take action now while the right of withdrawal is on its last legs. This get-out-of-jail-free card is set to lapse shortly.