Firm Profile > AEQUITAS > Almaty, Kazakhstan

ALMATY 050000

Dispute resolution Tier 1

AEQUITAS focuses on complex, multi-jurisdictional commercial disputes including foreign and local commercial arbitration proceedings and cross-border litigation, and regularly acts for foreign investors in disputes with a Kazakh law element. The practice employs two ex-Supreme Court Justices; Aislou Shaikenova and Violetta Kim. Valikhan Shaikenov is head of the dispute resolution and arbitration practice, which also includes managing partner Olga Chentsova, who has represented major global oil and mining companies in claims pertaining to civil, corporate and environmental law; Chentsova also focuses on investment treaty protection issues and matters in the oil and gas, mining and construction sectors. Senior associate Ardak Idayatova specialises in civil, contract, land, tax and customs law.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Dow Izolan

CapitaLand Express LLP

Eurasian Bank

Cilag GbmH International

Punj Lloyd

Real estate and construction (including projects) Tier 1

AEQUITAS is recognised for its work handling the construction of major industrial and social facilities, and its involvement in large residential complexes in Kazakhstan; the practice recently assisted with the construction of an artificial island in the Caspian offshore zone, and advised on the construction of oil pipelines and infrastructure facilities. Group co-head Nurlan Sholanov focuses on renewable energy mandates and has extensive experience in project finance, deal structuring and corporate matters; fellow co-head Olga Chentsova is also a key contact for corporate-related issues. Counsel Kulyash M. Ilyasova recently joined from a role at Caspian University; she has experience advising leading oil companies operating in Kazakhstan on complex infrastructure projects.


The team makes this practice unique.’

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 2

AEQUITAS assists clients with local business financing transactions, security issues, bank loans and acquisition financing mandates. The team also handles the issuance and placement of shares, depository receipts and bonds on financial markets. AIG is a key client for the practice, which also recently advised Deutsche Bank on a variety of matters. Yelena Pestereva leads the banking and finance team and is experienced in corporate and compliance mandates, including environmental legislation work. Nurlan Sholanov is also a noteworthy practitioner.

Practice head(s):


AQUITAS is a great team with prompt turnaround.

Key clients

Gazprombank JSC

West Hydrocarbons Commerical Investment LLC (UAE)

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

AEQUITAS frequently acts as local counsel on major international and regional projects, and is particularly active in M&A. The group has advised leading companies on their listings on the London Stock Exchange and Kazakhstan Stock Exchange, and recently participated in the development of key acts in Kazakhstan's corporate legislation. With substantial experience in establishing joint ventures, M&A, corporate restructurings and management buy-outs, Nurlan Sholanov leads the corporate practice and also supervises project finance matters. Natalya Braynina is an expert in corporate and contract issues, while Yuliya Chumachenko specialises in civil, contract, labour and antitrust law.


What I particularly like about them is that they work on “turn-key” basis, i.e. if you give them work, they quickly return with the draft with all details and risks considered.’

Great team and prompt turnaround.

Key clients

Herbert Smith Freehills


State Oil Ltd.



Covington & Burligton LLP

Energy and natural resources Tier 2

AEQUITAS provides advice to clients across a diverse range of matters including labour and antitrust issues and subsoil user procurement mandates. The group has recently added several Chinese clients to its roster and is regularly instructed on market entry reviews of projects in the renewable energy sector. Managing partner Olga Chentsova and Natalya Braynina jointly lead the practice, and advise clients in the oil and gas and natural resources sectors.

Tax and customs Tier 3

AEQUITAS is recognised for its expertise in the construction sector, where it handles the tax aspects of the construction of major industrial and social facilities, infrastructure projects and large residential complexes in Kazakhstan. Olga Chentsova and Nurlan Sholanov lead the team.

AEQUITAS, a Kazakh national law firm, was founded in 1993. One of the founding partners was Professor Yuri G. Bassin, Doctor of Law, a forefather of civil law science in Kazakhstan.

In the early 90s, AEQUITAS was one of the first firm’s to provide legal support both to foreign investors coming to Kazakhstan’s market and to those starting domestic businesses. The first joint ventures with foreign participation in Kazakhstan were organized with AEQUITAS providing the legal support.

AEQUITAS is one of Kazakhstan’s leading law firms acknowledged in the global legal services market. For many years, authoritative legal guides, such as Chambers & Partners, The Legal 500, and Who’s Who Legal, have rated AEQUITAS,  its partners and associates as the country’s most recommended law firm.

AEQUITAS’ clients are companies active in the leading sectors of economy from more than 50 countries, including major international corporations, companies representing world famous brands, banks and financial institutions, most of them have worked with AEQUITAS for many years.

AEQUITAS lawyers have been actively participating in the development and improvement of the most important legislative acts governing market relations and business activities in Kazakhstan. This allows the firm not only to keep abreast of potential amendments in legislation, but also to influence, to a certain extent, the making of the rules of the game.

The firm has offices in Almaty and Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan).

In 2019, AEQUITAS has become an AIFC Participant, and is doing business in the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) as AEQUITAS Law Firm (AIFC Branch) and providing legal services under the commercial license No. AFSA-O-CD-2019-0063.  The branch office is located in the same building as the AIFC Court and International Arbitration Center.

Our values

Our values are the key principles our practice and team relationships are built upon.

We take pride in unswervingly discharging our responsibilities when helping clients and business partners achieve their goals. We take pride in being trusted. We are appreciated for high quality services, honesty, transparency and efficiency. We aspire for leadership, upholding traditions and finding new solutions, and seek to meet and exceed expectations.

We value our people and care about them. We trust each other. We believe in each one’s personal contribution to the general cause. Our firm is blessed with an atmosphere of mutual respect, team spirit and everybody’s high involvement, which are the fundamentals of our continuing success.

Over more than 27 years of its successful practice, AEQUITAS has accumulated respectable professional experience and theoretical knowledge in the areas most sought after when doing business in Kazakhstan, which enables its lawyers to navigate clients through the most complex legal issues. World famous companies trust and cooperate with AEQUITAS.

The key areas in which AEQUITAS, year after year, enjoys deserved recognition as the leading and most recommended law firm in Kazakhstan, include business law, corporate law, banking & finance, natural resources and environmental, labor & employment, and M&A.

Certain areas of the firm’s practice have altered – AEQUITAS has always been quick to respond to changes in the legal regulation and economy and seeks to develop and enhance the areas of practice most in demand by clients during certain historical periods of time. In the 90’s the firm’s important area of practice was legal support of privatization projects. AEQUITAS lawyers were advising the largest foreign investors and governmental agencies in the course for privatization of the country’s major enterprises and facilities. In recent years, the firm’s actively developing areas of practice are healthcare, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and the potentially popular – public-private partnership.

The firm has gained a most positive reputation in such areas as insurance, mass media, customs, and many others.

AEQUITAS lawyers are also ready to assist individual clients in matrimonial and inheritance law matters, providing services that involve the drafting of various contracts and court documents, as well as client representation in court.

Business law. A large portion of AEQUITAS ’s day-to-day practice comprises services relating to the legal support of its clients’ businesses. The firm’s lawyers are assisting clients in diverse matters — from the drafting of contracts to due diligence of companies.

Corporate law. AEQUITAS’ corporate law practice started at the same time as the adoption of the new Kazakhstan’s legislative acts on legal entities, and with the establishment of Kazakhstan’s first joint ventures with foreign capital participation in 1993.

Banking & Finance. AEQUITAS ’s long-standing clients are the world’s leading investment and commercial banks, state-owned organizations, international payment systems, institutional investors and other players in the capital markets.

Environmental. AEQUITAS’ environmental practice is one of Kazakhstan’s strongest. The key clients using aequitas environmental legal services are the leading local and international companies active in the construction, industrial production and subsoil use sectors in Kazakhstan.

Natural Resources. AEQUITAS is particularly proud
of its subsoil use practice. AEQUITAS ’s experience in the natural resources area is domestically unique, as the firm partook in the national-significance projects and projects completely new to Kazakhstan.

Labor & Employment. AEQUITAS’ labor law practice is the best in Kazakhstan. The firm’s lawyers are advising on most intricate issues unregulated by local legislation. AEQUITAS possesses extensive experience in defending both employers and employees, in and out of court.

M&A. AEQUITAS’ M&A practice was launched together with the privatization of the key entities of Kazakhstan’s economy in the early 90s. The firm’s legal support accompanied the largest subsoil deals in Kazakhstan.

Competition & Antitrust. AEQUITAS’ antitrust practice dates back more than ten years. The firm boasts dozens of successful approvals of M&A transactions significant to Kazakhstan’s economy. AEQUITAS’ lawyers are perfectly familiar with the legislation and the law-application and judicial practice and can address most complex aspects of the national and supra-national antitrust legislation application.

Regulatory compliance. The advent of large foreign companies to the Kazakhstani market increasingly brings the term ‘compliance’ into practice. Although management of legal and compliance risks is still an under explored domain, AEQUITAS has amassed a considerable experience in this area.

Construction & Real Estate is one of AEQUITAS’ oldest and most active areas of practice, accumulating the firm’s impressive experience. AEQUITAS has contributed its legal support to projects involving construction of major industrial and social facilities and large residential compounds in Kazakhstan.

Infrastructure Projects. Public-Private Partnership (PPP). AEQUITAS is regularly supporting infrastructure projects of great importance for different sectors of the Kazakhstan economy: energy, transportation, mining, etc. Regardless of the industry and project complexity, the firm’s lawyers possess sufficient experience and knowledge to promptly render legal services necessary to implement the project. Taking into account the state policy pursued in this area and the clients’ interest, AEQUITAS is paying most serious attention to PPP matters.

Healthcare, Medicine & Pharmaceuticals. Legal services in the field of healthcare is AEQUITAS’s actively developing area of practice. The firm’s lawyers are rendering all-round support to large pharmaceutical companies coming to the Kazakhstan market for their business establishment and development.

Industry & Trade. AEQUITAS has amassed noteworthy expertise advising clients active in the production, distribution, marketing and sale of consumer and industrial goods, including contract drafting and negotiation, client representation before governmental agencies and dispute settlement.

Transport & Merchant Shipping. The firm regularly advises clients on a variety of issues pertaining to legal regulation of transportation activities in Kazakhstan. AEQUITAS is one of the few local law firms possessing experience in the merchant shipping area.

Agriculture. In the past several years, AEQUITAS’ lawyers have been advising the leading banks and financial companies, such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale, HSBC France, as well as major local agricultural producers, on various issues of trade finance secured by grain and cotton collaterals in Kazakhstan.

Dispute Resolution. AEQUITAS has a successful dispute resolution practice, representing clients in the Kazakh courts at all levels, including in cases involving financial instruments, debt restructuring, construction contracts, employment, transportation and insurance.

IT and communications. AEQUITAS’ clients, in differing IT and communications projects, have been the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and major international cellular, landline and postal operators.

Law-Making. AEQUITAS’ partners and associates are engaged, on a regular basis, to participate in the law-making activities to develop new acts and improve current legislation. The Civil Code, Foreign Investment Law, Privatization Law and Petroleum Law and other Kazakh legislative acts have been developed with AEQUITAS participation.

Department Name Email Telephone
Law-Making Olga Chentsova +7 (727) 3 968 968
Construction & Real Estate Ardak Idayatova +7 (727) 3 968 968
Energy & Natural Resources Natalya Braynina +7 (727) 3 968 968
Regulatory compliance Natalya Braynina +7 (727) 3 968 968
Corporate law Nurlan Sholanov +7 (727) 3 968 968
Infrastructure Projects & Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Ardak Idayatova +7 (727) 3 968 968
Agriculture Nurlan Sholanov +7 (727) 3 968 968
Labor & Employment Yuliya Chumachenko +7 (727) 3 968 968
Healthcare, Medicine & Pharmaceuticals Yuliya Chumachenko +7 (727) 3 968 968
Industry & Trade Yuliya Chumachenko +7 (727) 3 968 968
Transport & Merchant Shipping Yuliya Chumachenko +7 (727) 3 968 968
Banking & Finance Yelena Manayenko +7 (727) 3 968 968
Environmental Yelena Manayenko +7 (727) 3 968 968
Dispute Resolution Valikhan Shaikenov +7 (727) 3 968 968
M&A Yelena Manayenko +7 (727) 3 968 968
Competition & Antitrust Anna Kornilova +7 (727) 3 968 968
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Anton Alexeyev  photo Mr Anton Alexeyev Associate
Ms Natalya Braynina  photo Ms Natalya Braynina Partner, Head of Energy & Natural Resources
Dr Olga Chentsova  photo Dr Olga Chentsova Managing Partner
Mr Alexandr Chumachenko  photo Mr Alexandr Chumachenko Senior Associate
Ms Yuliya Chumachenko  photo Ms Yuliya Chumachenko Partner, Head of Labor & Employment, Healthcare, Medicine & Pharmaceuticals.
Ms Ardak Idayatova  photo Ms Ardak Idayatova Senior Associate, Deputy Head of Dispute Resolution.Ardak Idayatova specializes in civil, contract,…
 Kulyash Ilyasova  photo Kulyash Ilyasova Counsel
 Farukh Iminov  photo Farukh Iminov Junior Associate
Ms Yekaterina Khamidullina  photo Ms Yekaterina Khamidullina Senior Associate
Mrs Violetta Kim  photo Mrs Violetta Kim Counsel
Ms Anna Kornilova  photo Ms Anna Kornilova Senior Associate (Nur-Sultan Office), Head of Competition & Antitrust
Mr Tair Kulteleev  photo Mr Tair Kulteleev Associate, Head of AEQUITAS registration sector
Ms Yelena Manayenko  photo Ms Yelena Manayenko Senior Associate, Head of M&A practice
Ms Yelena Pestereva  photo Ms Yelena Pestereva Partner, Head of Banking & Finance practice
Mr Valikhan Shaikenov  photo Mr Valikhan Shaikenov Partner, Head of Dispute Resolution and Arbitration practice
 Aislu Shaikenova  photo Aislu Shaikenova Counsel
Mr Nurlan Sholanov  photo Mr Nurlan Sholanov Partner, Head of Corporate law
Ms Lyailya Tleulina  photo Ms Lyailya Tleulina Senior Associate
Ms Larissa Yemelyanova  photo Ms Larissa Yemelyanova Senior Associate
Almaty : 20
Nur-Sultan : 2
International Bar Association (IBA)
Kazakhstan Bar Association
Ius Laboris - Global Human Resources Lawyers Alliance
Ius Laboris
Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN)
Kazakhstan Petroleum Lawyers Association