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Edith Khachatourian, Managing Partner

ILC’s Managing Partner, Edith Khachatourian, explains what sets ILC apart from the other law firms in Armenia

1) What do you see as the main points that differentiate ILC from your competitors?

Experience, Reputation and Integrity

  • Experience: ILC is comprised of American and Armenian attorneys who have extensive experience in both US and Armenian law, and we use our legal knowledge, know-how and networks to serve our clients. In 1999, ILC was one of the first law firms in Armenia to offer comprehensive legal advice to foreign businesses and investors, and almost twenty years later we continue to be the leading law firm in the country.
  • Reputation: Armenia is a small country of less than 3 million people, with approximately 1 million residing in the capital, Yerevan. Everyone knows everyone. Our attorneys enjoy an impressive rate of success with our litigation cases, whilst strictly adhering to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act tenets; we have excellent personal contacts within the administration and are not afraid to confront and expose any matter if we find that our clients are facing unfair business practices or are being hassled by the authorities or competitors. Having this reputation sets us apart: knowing the right people in the right positions is not unique to most law firms in Armenia; refusing to participate in unethical conduct and being willing to expose any such attempt is what sets ILC apart and carves out an untouchable niche for our clients.
  • Integrity: We put integrity first in every single relationship; from partners and employees, to government officials, judges and even opposing counsel. High moral values and trust serve as the foundation for all of our work.
2) Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

We anticipate a significant growth in our tax planning and structuring practice, due to the enactment of the new Tax Code as of January 2018, since these new changes in the code will affect businesses and employees across every sector. The Tax Code will create opportunities for our clients to restructure their tax strategies and take advantage of savings; we also anticipate a growth in our clientele through businesses requiring compliance checks to bring their operations into compliance with the new tax regulations.

Recently, we have witnessed a growth in our IT-sector clients, with the focus more on startups looking to establish a presence in the United States and working to attract investors. We anticipate a steady growth in this practice, as the Armenian government continues to support the growth and expansion of the IT sector.

3) What's the main change you've made in the firm that will benefit clients?

In the last couple of years, we have increased our collaboration with other lawyers and law firms, allowing us to continue to be the clients’ “one stop shop” without building a heavy overhead. Through this collaborative model we are able to maintain ILC’s core group of experienced attorneys, and collaborate with other carefully-selected lawyers and law firms for specialised or larger projects. As a firm, we are more agile and responsive to the needs of our clients: we can scale up or down based on the needs of our clients, whilst continuing to provide the client-focused quality of service characteristic of a boutique law firm.

As the Managing Partner, I ensure consistent and high quality services by reviewing and verifying every work product before its issuance. My experience as an American attorney, qualified both in the US (admitted to the state bars of New York and California) and Armenia, allows me to tailor each product and service to meet the unique needs of our clients. In short: the buck stops with me.

4) Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Absolutely. In an online virtual environment, the lights are always on. Location is no longer a limiting factor and our attorneys are able to progress projects forward faster than ever before. For example, I have lived in Armenia for 20 years, but currently split my time between San Francisco and Armenia. This arrangement allows us to provide seamless services to our clients, where I interface with our clients in the US and Europe, at hours most convenient to them, and work with our attorneys in Armenia to ensure a timely and prompt implementation of requested services. This type of efficiency would not be possible without the technology available to us today.

5) Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

When a company approaches us to assist them with registration of an entity in Armenia, we not only assist them with the registration, we also continue guiding and protecting them from local pitfalls, and help them mitigate their risks. To do that, we get involved in various aspects of our clients’ needs, beyond merely providing legal advice and services. For example, most recently we assisted a Silicon Valley company establish operations in Armenia, and continued to shepherd them through by assisting them in acquiring suitable real estate for their operations, in retaining the best accounting firm for financial services, and in hiring skilled employees. It is that kind of comprehensive service that keeps us in the forefront of the legal market in Armenia.

6) Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms - where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

A majority of our clients are foreign businesses and investors, and we tailor our products to address issues that are of interest to that specific clientele. We will continue to remain focused on the needs of our clients and grow to meet those needs.

Strategically we anticipate formalizing some of our current collaborative relationships with individual legal experts, so that we can continue to be the “one stop shop” for our clients, while ensuring consistently high level of quality service.

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