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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Azerbaijan > Legal market overview > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Legal market overview
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Legal market overview clients in Azerbaijan using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Azerbaijan’s economy, which is heavily reliant on the oil and gas sector, has suffered as a result of the drop in commodity prices in recent years. Economic conditions forced the sale of the formerly state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan to private investors in 2017, which involved $3.3bn worth of debt restructuring prior to the sale.

The Azerbaijani government is keen to diversify its economy and has been using finance generated from its oil resources to fund infrastructure projects, with the aim of encouraging growth in more sustainable sectors.

Other important developments include the completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway in 2017, which connects Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey, serving as an important transport link between Europe and Asia.

The legal market predominantly consists of generalist practices, with most offices based in Baku. International law firms such as Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited and Dentons, as well as ‘The Big Four’, have Azerbaijani-based legal practices.

BM Morrison Partners LLC, which is known for its ‘professional approach’ and ‘ability to meet deadlines’, ‘always studies the issues thoroughly’. Delara Israfilova advised a number of international financial institutions on a Eurobond issuance pertaining to the southern gas corridor project, which was backed by a sovereign guarantee. Farhad Mirzayev has significant expertise in energy law, project finance, and real estate, and recently handled Bank Standard’s liquidation. Other highlights include Aykhan Asadov assisting Gazprombank with the development of a greenfield petrochemical plant development and advising Export-Import Bank of United States on its hire and purchase of two Boeing 787-8 aircraft and a spare engine.

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited’s multi-disciplinary practice has expertise in banking and finance, corporate and M&A, dispute resolution, energy, infrastructure and IP. Managing partner Gunduz Karimov recently advised IBM on its partnership with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), which included handling procurement and regulatory matters. Altay Mustafayev heads the banking and finance, real estate, corporate and M&A, and tax practices at the firm. His recent highlights include advising Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the repayment of debts from Unibank, which involved issuing shares to the lenders and extending existing loans.

Dentons has strong capabilities in M&A, project finance and capital markets. James Hogan, who is an expert in corporate, commercial and natural resources matters, recently advised Société Générale on a €300m loan facility to state-owned entity Azerenerji. Kamal Mammadzada, who has a varied practice taking in a number of practice areas, recently assisted Nordic Aviation Capital with the lease of two aircraft to Azerbaijan Airlines. Of counsel Ophelia Abdullayeva is active in corporate, commercial tax and employment matters, and of counsel Ulvia Zeynalova-Bockin is experienced in banking, Islamic finance and real estate.

MGB Law Offices focuses primarily on commercial law. Managing partner Ismail Askerov has expertise in corporate and TMT issues, as well as project and aviation finance. Anar Janmammadov has considerable commercial and disputes expertise and Kamil Valiyev is experienced in commercial transactions and cross-border M&A.

Omni Law Firm has extensive experience in banking and finance, capital markets, corporate, restructuring and project finance. Roman Alloyarov has expertise in banking and finance, corporate, and capital markets matters. Notable highlights include advising SOCAR on the issuance of $750,000,000 worth of notes, and acting for a consortium of lenders on a three tranche loan facility granted to Topaz Marine involving standard and Islamic senior-secured loans. Ismail Zargarli recently assisted the International Bank of Azerbaijan on $3bn of bad loans granted to a ‘failed bank’. Of counsel Afag Abdullayeva is a key name for banking and finance and capital markets work. Elchin Mammadov is now with PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal.

Baku Law Centre handles banking and finance, corporate, tax, disputes and energy and natural resources matters. Highlights included advising Zenith Aran Oil Company on its production sharing agreement with SOCAR for the Muradkhanli-Jafarli-Zardab onshore oil field. The firm also assisted Möet Hennessy on registering seven trademarks in Azerbaijan and advised Formula One on contractual matters concerning the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Managing partner Anar Baghirov, who is a key name for energy, commercial and dispute resolution matters; Mehman Sultanov, who is experienced in the construction, insurance and telecoms sectors; Fariz Mammadov, who focuses on banking and finance, real estate and IP matters; and Gulnar Gurbanova whose practice takes in corporate, commercial and tax matters, are the key names.

Deloitte & Touche LLC’s team predominantly handles corporate and M&A, human resources and company deregistration matters. Practice head Sarvar Hummatov primarily focuses on corporate and M&A, restructuring and employment issues. Tax specialist Nuran Kerimov is also a key figure.

Ekvita is best known for its work in the oil and gas sector, but also handles banking, Islamic finance, IP, tax and employment matters. Practice head Ilgar Mehti, who is a key name for energy, corporate and tax matters, recently handled compliance issues for a Malaysian energy company. Highlights for Anar Karimov include acting for Tiffany & Co. in a matter involving the filing of ‘Tiffany’ trade marks in bad faith by a separate company, and advising Shahdag Tourism Center on its corporate restructuring, which involved the registration of a new entity and transfer of the existing contracts to the new entity.

The ‘very professional’ and ‘passionate’ team at PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal handles corporate and M&A, banking and finance, oil and gas, IP, employment and immigration matters. Highlights included advising on the merger of AtaBank and CDB Bank, which involved conducting due diligence on both parties, and handling post-merger employment matters. The firm also assisted Unilever with the prevention of counterfeit products being imported into the region and advised Deutsche Bahn on employment and immigration matters pertaining to the setting up of a local office. Elshan Rahman joined in 2016 from Grata International and handles commercial matters, tax litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Könül Guliyeva, who advises on tax and customs, corporate and M&A, and regulatory and compliance issues, is another name to note. Elchin Mammadov, who heads the firm's legal practice, was a new arrival from Omni Law Firm in 2018. Samir Hadjiyev and Emin Kerimov left the firm in June 2018.

BDO Azerbaijan LLC is known for its ‘immediate responses’. The firm focuses on corporate, advisory and litigation matters. Practice head Sabit Abdullayev has particular expertise in tax and litigation matters. Aynur Rajabzade focuses primarily on corporate and immigration matters.

Capital Legal Services has strong capabilities handling matters concerning energy and natural resources, banking and finance, capital markets and investments. Managing partner Vugar Mammadov has particular expertise in corporate, commercial and tax matters. Recent highlights include advising Holiday Inn and Qatar Airways respectively on obtaining licences and permissions to operate in Azerbaijan. Senior associate Elnur Eyvazov has expertise in corporate and commercial matters.

Ernst & Young Holdings (CIS) B.V., Branch Office in the Republic of Azerbaijan is particularly known for its expertise in tax compliance, HR and corporate matters. Tax specialist Arzu Hajiyeva is a key figure.

Grata International has ‘an integrated one-stop-shop approach’, ‘always looks to stay informed of new trends, changes and client demands’, and, according to one client, ‘never compromises on quality no matter how tight the deadline’. Practice head Ummi Jalilova has ‘a robust market reputation as a great legal adviser on mergers and acquisitions’. Her recent highlights include representing Turkish company Ekol Gida Tarim Hayvanciliq in a dispute with an Azerbaijani company pertaining to the latter’s refusal to make payments due to recent currency devaluations.

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