Firm Profile > SIGNUM Law Firm > Almaty, Kazakhstan

050009 ALMATY

Energy and natural resources Tier 2

SIGNUM Law Firm advises on complex issues in the natural resources and energy sectors, with particular expertise in cross-border M&A deals and regulatory matters involving foreign investors exploring investment opportunities in Kazakhstan. Managing partner Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is 'outstanding' and 'market leader' in the oil and gas and mining industries. Other key practitioners include Liza Zhumakhmetova, who focuses on commercial, corporate and M&A mandates; and Abylkhair Nakipov, who advises clients in the oil and gas and pharmaceuticals industries on contracts and regulatory compliance issues.


The SIGNUM team has on-the-ground understanding of legislative and regulatory developments of the sector. Whenever we have requested the team to assist us with oil and gas matters, they can assemble and deploy a bespoke team to ensure we meet our commercial objectives, especially in negotiating the terms of the concession agreements with the governmental agencies as well as having broad knowledge in industry trends.

The firm has a historic strength in energy and natural resources matters. In particular, the team is noted for its special ability to consistently deliver strong multi-dimensional expertise in various practice areas, including on energy litigation, arbitration and regulatory issues.

The one thing that makes SIGNUM unique as compared to other firms is the level of personal responsibility that the partners and employees have in making sure the client’s needs are met. I know every firm could say this but at SIGNUM, it’s noticeable and it’s real. Personal service and personal attention is their strength.

Sofiya Zhylkaidarova and Liza Zhumakmetova are outstanding partners in the practice. Gaukhar Kudaibergevona is an outstanding rising star associate. The team is always available and always answers promptly and professionally.

‘Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is an excellent professional, very charismatic and is truly recognized as one of the market leaders.

Liza Zhumakhmetova exhibited a very practical and knowledgeable approach to legal matters both for the local Kazakhstan laws and regulations and for the international market considerations. Very professional approach to all matters.

Key clients

Excellence Logging Ltd.


Australian Gas Group

Tax and customs Tier 2

SIGNUM Law Firm's tax practice predominantly acts for international and local companies operating in Kazakhstan across the oil and gas, chemistry, IT and aviation sectors. The group is well-positioned to advise on noteworthy projects and sophisticated regulatory, tax and finance issues. Managing partner Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is experienced in the oil and gas, mining and subsoil use sectors, while Talgat Sariev primarily handles tax litigation.

Practice head(s):


I think our company is very lucky to have such a one-stop-shop law firm on hand. SIGNUM’s tax team is exceedingly proactive with a constructive approach and very creative ideas.’

The one thing that makes SIGNUM unique as compared to other firms is the level of personal responsibility that the partners and employees have in making sure the client’s needs are met.’

The individual approach that each of the query/assignment gets is something we like in this firm. They easily understand the requirements from clients and accordingly come out with the best possible results.’

The legal analysis and products provided by SIGNUM have been practical and to the point.’

Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is very good at providing constructive advice in an artistic way and that innovative and creative response makes her a brilliant lawyer in terms of provided valuable advice.

Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is a great lawyer with a good reputation in Kazakhstan market. She is one of the leading members of the Kazakhstan Bar Association and is always on top of the legal trends and shares ideas with peers.

Key clients

Excellence Logging Ltd.

Australian Gas Group Pty Ltd.

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 3

SIGNUM Law Firm predominantly acts for foreign investors on investment opportunities in Kazakhstan, and frequently provides advice on cross-border finance, corporate and M&A transactions and regulatory issues. It has developed a number of relations with major international law firms and has a 'unique insight into the government'. Practice head Liza Zhumakhmetova is particularly experienced in the oil and gas and mining sectors and 'always goes the extra mile'. Sofiya Zhylkaidarova advises clients on tax, commercial, and M&A mandates in oil and gas, mining, sub-surface, and financial industries. Abylkhair Nakipov focuses on commercial and M&A.


From my experience of working with Commercial, corporate and M&A team at SIGNUM, they really work hard on all our assignments, being very responsive, quick and caring about our problems. The practice combines deep experience, the ability to deliver fast under pressure, a pragmatic approach and the ability to find creative solutions. SIGNUM’s portfolio of corporate and M&A deals is very impressive.’

SIGNUM’s M&A team assists its local and international clients on their most complex and important transactions. Its corporate and M&A team’s experience extends beyond transactional work given that they also conduct a thorough post-transactional work through every stage of their clients’ life-cycle. This is what our company has been witnessing over a decade by now.’

The team at SIGNUM is very responsible, responsive, knowledgeable, commercially savvy and very client focused. The team understands the local markets in which their clients do business and is very well known for its expertise in oil and gas and renewable energy transactional matters.’

I have worked with Signum on several projects over the years (since 2008). They have proven to be very competent and knowledgeable in all aspects of commercial and corporate law and strategies.’

The one thing that makes the Signum Law Firm unique as compared to other firms is the level of personal responsibility that the partners and employees have in making sure the client’s needs are met. I know every firm could say this but at Signum, it’s noticeable and it’s real. Personal service and personal attention is their strength.’

Stand out partners are Sofiya Zhylkaidarova and Liza Zhumakmetova. They are always available & give excellent advice in a timely manner. I have used Signum Law Firm since they were established and have never had any hesitation in recommending them to colleagues and industry peers.’

Practice head Liza Zhumakhmetova always responds quickly to my legal needs, delivering clear and concise responses. She truly values her client’s time and always goes an extra mile to provide effective counselling so that we can make informed decisions.

Practice head Liza Zhumakhmetova certainly knows how to get a deal done in Kazakhstan.

Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is well spoken, very knowledgeable, and exhibits excellent team and project management and coordination.

Key clients

Excellence Logging Limited

Medtronic Kazakhstan LLP

BNP Paribas


Australian Gas Group

Dispute resolution Tier 3

SIGNUM Law Firm has recently acted in several high-profile international arbitrations in Kazakhstan and also represents international companies in Kazakhstan and national businesses in complex tax litigation, bankruptcy litigation and debt recovery cases. Group head Talgat Sariev  is a 'well-known name in the market' with 'a high level of expertise' and focuses on litigation and international arbitration for clients in the oil and gas and mining sectors, and senior associate Saltanat Kemalova primarily acts in telecoms, leasing and chemical sector disputes.

Practice head(s):


SIGNUM‘s ligation team gathered together many-sided experts. A client might benefit from the synergy within the team with a combination of strengths of each member secures a comprehensive approach to problem solving. A diversity of styles also allows the team to allocate the right lawyer for a specific task.’

Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is well-known name in the market and always takes proactive, strategic and result-oriented approach to each project. In the stressful environment of settlement negotiations or of litigation, she provides a client with confidence and calmness. Her extended experience in tax disputes and disputes with the state authorities allows her to control the whole process closely.

Talgat Sariev is always ready to offer a client high-level expertise and attention to detail. His critical thinking skill is crucial for drafting client’s case and refuting that of the opponent. His self-control wins him sympathy of his clients. When formulating a case strategy, he effectively assesses the situation, identifies and focuses on the right key strategic tactics by thinking though all possible options, and aligns all of this with us as a client.

Key clients

IBS Project LLP

The firm: SIGNUM was founded in 2006 by Sofiya Zhylkaidarova and Abylkhair Nakipov. Subsoil use, contracts and business law, dispute resolution and litigation, mergers and acquisitions have been the main areas of practice since formation. The firm’s size has tripled since that time.

SIGNUM Law Firm is an independent law firm based in Almaty, servicing domestic and international clients. It is a leading Kazakhstan law firm with out-of-box thinking providing world-class professional services. The firm’s team comprises 15 Kazakhstan lawyers with both industry and consulting experience in local and international law firms and international companies. The firm also has subject matter specialists and engages them when in need of special advice. Its lawyers provide legal advice in nearly all areas of Kazakhstan law.

Areas of practice: Contracts and business law: SIGNUM lawyers provide legal advice on Kazakhstan law to clients in structuring and documenting relationships with business partners, suppliers or customers, to advise on business law, including insurance.

Corporate law: SIGNUM corporate lawyers offer clients practical advice in a range of corporate issues. SIGNUM has broad experience in the provision of legal services in matters related to business establishment, restructuring and liquidation.

Corporate investigations: SIGNUM’s corporate investigations practice assists clients in defending themselves against fraud or other wrongdoing involving management, employees or third parties. SIGNUM works directly with management, shareholders, and corporate personnel such as compliance officers, general counsel, legal department personnel, internal auditors, and other investigation team members.

Dispute resolution and litigation: SIGNUM litigation lawyers are entrusted by its clients with the most sensitive and complex matters as well as day-to-day disputes. Having extended knowledge of Kazakhstan procedural legislation and court practice, the SIGNUM team of experienced and focused litigation lawyers advises on the most winning strategy and on effective solutions to protect clients’ interests in Kazakhstan courts.

Employment and labour: SIGNUM lawyers understand clearly that companies need competent and firm arrangement of employment in Kazakhstan, which assumes the presence of must-have personnel documents, and effective legal assistance in labour issues, taking into account the social responsibility of the employer. SIGNUM can often identify issues before they become problems and advise proactively.

Tax: the practice combines Kazakhstan tax lawyers and experts experienced in rendering industry-specific, comprehensive, effective and solution-driven advice to various companies. SIGNUM regularly participates in negotiations and court cases and advises on investments and tax stability, stability of PSA/subsoil use contracts, profit expropriation and application of the international treaties on tax matters in Kazakhstan.

Mergers and acquisitions: SIGNUM regularly advises clients and international law firms on complex Kazakhstan and cross-border deals. The firm acts on both the buyer side and the seller side, providing services that range from due diligence and vendor assistance to full M&A legal support.

Regulatory compliance and environment: SIGNUM lawyers have specific work experience in regulatory compliance issues and assist both Kazakhstan and foreign business clients in identifying and complying with the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements of state authorities and under international treaties etc.

Subsoil use: SIGNUM lawyers are advisors to many of their clients from the moment of signing subsoil use contracts up to the present day. SIGNUM has been providing legal support to their clients on subsoil use matters.

Department Name Email Telephone
Contracts and business law Abylkhair Nakipov
Corporate Liza Zhumakhmetova
Corporate investigations Liza Zhumakhmetova
Dispute resolution and litigation Talgat Sariev
Employment and labour Abylkhair Nakipov
Tax Sofiya Zhylkaidarova
Tax Yekaterina Zhgutova
Mergers and acquisitions Liza Zhumakhmetova
Regulatory compliance and environment Abylkhair Nakipov
Subsoil use Sofiya Zhylkaidarova
Subsoil use Gaukhar Kudaibergenova
Photo Name Position Profile
Mrs Gaukhar Kudaibergenova  photo Mrs Gaukhar Kudaibergenova Senior Associate specialising in Corporate, Contracts and Business law and Mergers and…
Mr Abylkhair Nakipov  photo Mr Abylkhair Nakipov Partner specialising in Contracts and Business Law, Subsoil Use and Mergers and…
Mr Talgat Sariev  photo Mr Talgat Sariev Partner specialising in Dispute Resolution and Litigation, Finance and Tax. Talgat has…
Mrs Liza Zhumakhmetova  photo Mrs Liza Zhumakhmetova Partner, Head of M&A. Liza has over 10 years’ experience in the…
Ms Sofiya Zhylkaidarova  photo Ms Sofiya Zhylkaidarova Managing Partner specialising Subsoil Use, Finance and Tax, Contracts and Business Law…
Number of lawyers : 15
at this office : 12
New York Bar Association
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Other offices : Astana