Firm Profile > Zaiwalla & Co > London, England

Zaiwalla & Co

Banking litigation: investment and retail Tier 6

Zaiwalla & Co 'understands the complexities of working with international institutional clients in UK litigation'. The group is frequently instructed by clients based in high-growth economies such as India, Russia and across the Middle East in banking litigation, and has 'particular expertise in dealing with sanctions issues'. Sarosh Zaiwalla leads the team, in which the 'outstanding' recently promoted partner Kartik Mittal and senior associate Rohit Ralleigh are key members.

Practice head(s):


Particular expertise in working with international clients, particularly Indian / CIS. Diverse international team who understands the complexities (and sometimes tensions) of working with international institutional clients in UK litigation. Particular expertise also in dealing with sanctions issues, both for individuals and institutions.’

Determined and imaginative. A unique firm.

Zaiwalla & Co have a unique client base – they act for a remarkable range of overseas claims, bringing creative thought to everything they are involved with.

Rohit Ralleigh was knowledgeable, approachable, had a hands-on approach to the matter and was a wonderful person to work with.

Kartik Mittal has a laser-like focus on the key issues and works extraordinarily hard on behalf of his clients

Sarosh Zaiwalla: an éminence grise with the most fantastic touch.

Kartik Mittal is outstanding; very bright and hard-working, and with good judgement. No case is too large for him to handle.

Leigh Crestohl offers legally sophisticated advice.

Key clients

Bank Mellat

Bank Tejarat

Pesco Beam Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd


Trishe Resources Inc

Commercial litigation: mid-market Tier 6

Zaiwalla & Co undertakes complex, multi-jurisdictional commercial litigation, which emanates from high-growth economies such as India, Russia and the Middle East. Senior partner Sarosh Zaiwalla has approximately 40 years' commercial litigation experience, while Leigh Crestohl and Kartik Mittal are recently promoted partners. Former managing partner Pavani Reddy joined Clyde & Co LLP as legal director.

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Other key lawyers:


The team is well aware of the construction industry and JCT contracts. The took a balanced approach towards our case.

Team strength: diversity and organisation.

Key capabilities – Analytical and logical reasoning.

Sarosh is very intuitive and an easy person to work with. Even if he disagrees with the client’s approach, he can easily explain the logical reasoning behind his argument. He is one of the best lawyers we have worked with.

Wee were very impressed by Lawrence Jacobson’s knowledge of substantive law and legal procedures.

What makes this practice unique is the sheer range of matters they are prepared to take on if they think it is a good cause. Sarosh Zaiwalla has a fantastic ability to make contacts and has a superb client base from all around the world.

Sarosh’s ability to conjure up legal solutions out of the air, combined with his never-give-up attitude, has had a profound influence on the whole culture and approach of the firm.

Leigh Crestohl: very sharp, experienced in three (at least) jurisdictions and extremely hard-working.

Russell Strong: relatively recently arrived but has established himself as a top performer within the firm.

Special mention for Stephanie Limaco, a Spanish-speaking associate who has been of invaluable help on South American cases.

The head of the firm, Sarosh Zaiwalla, sets the tone in his unique, penetrative and tenacious way so as to give the galaxy of high-profile clients drawn to the firm the gold standard of service.

Sarosh Zaiwalla is a beacon in the field and an inspiration to other practitioners.

A small boutique litigation practice which punches well above its weight, taking on the biggest names in the industry and proving to be more nimble and strategically astute.

Leigh Crestohl has experience of litigation in the Magic Circle, which he brings to the firm’s clients with a much more hands on and personal approach. He is well supported by some exceptional senior associates such as Russell Strong. They are an experienced team, especially in complex factual or financial matters, often involving fraud.


Key clients

Hirbodan Management Company


Sheikh Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber

MBI & Partners UK Ltd

International arbitration Tier 7

Zaiwalla & Co's disputes work frequently emanates from India, Russia and the Middle East, and the group is regularly instructed by Iranian companies. Leigh Crestohl heads up the department, which also includes former judge of the International Chamber of Commerce's ICA Sarosh Zaiwalla, and senior solicitor Russell Strong. Former managing partner Pavani Reddy joined Clyde & Co LLP.

Practice head(s):


‘This is a small firm which goes from strength to strength in international arbitration. Sarosh Zaiwalla and Leigh Crestohl make a formidable duo with a solid back up of talented assistants.’

‘The stand out partners are Sarosh Zaiwalla who has a fertile legal brain and years of experience as an arbitrator and as arbitration Counsel, and Leigh Crestohl who also has years of experience in international arbitration.’

‘The international arbitration team has that essential quality of hard work, legal talent and the ability to make their own luck work for them.’

‘Leigh Crestohl, Russell Strong – both tenacious and analytical.’

‘Zaiwalla offer a very personalised service and very much out of the box solutions which have worked very well for us. All the people that I have interacted with are extremely friendly and have often gone out of their way to look for a solution. I have found all the people that I have dealt with have a very well balanced mix of legal and commercial nous.’

‘Russell Strong is extremely hard working and puts the client’s needs first.’

‘A good commercial firm with an international reach.’

‘I would highly recommend Russell Strong. He has a broad commercial practice, involving international disputes. He is a strong litigator and tactician. He looks at the end goal which his client wishes to achieve and then works out how best to achieve that goal. A real fighter and a good negotiator, who has a good grasp of both law and procedure. He is also very user-friendly.’

‘Kartik Mittal – Developing a great reputation for cases with an Indian aspect. Saurabh Bhagotra – A hard working young lawyer who pulls out all the stops for his clients.’

Established in 1982, Zaiwalla & Co Ltd (Zaiwalla) is best known for undertaking complex, high-value, multijurisdictional disputes, often emanating from developing and high-growth economies such as Russia, India, China, the Middle East and Africa.

This is why the firm is retained by some of the world’s largest private and state-owned companies in Oil & Gas, Energy, Banking and Commercial sectors some of whom are publicly listed and/or feature in the Fortune 500 and Forbes.

Zaiwalla client’s value the following attributes of the firm:

  • Strategy: we develop streamlined approaches to high-value disputes. Our proven track record is a result of finding new and innovative approaches to challenging issues.
  • Setting precedents: challenging established law and winning cases at the highest courts in the UK and the EU. The firm has acted in over 116 cases that have changed the law in England and Wales.
  • Large cases: In 2019 the team successfully settled an 8-year US$4 billion claim was settled for the Iranian private bank, Bank Mellat, in the largest ever public law damages claim ($4bn) brought against the UK government for the wrongful imposition of sanctions, a case that featured twice in The Lawyer’s annual list of The Top 20 International Disputes. Other matters in 2019 include a US$ 420 million LCIA arbitration for Channel 2 Corporation against the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, reported in the Kenyan parliament, and a banking dispute for India’s ICICI Bank.
  • International expertise: Over 90% of the client base is international and the Zaiwalla team has English qualified lawyers from India, Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Canada and South Africa. With lawyers from international backgrounds, and decades of experience acting for clients from all over the world, the team attracts pioneering international work – one of the first UK law firms to enter the international legal market in China, and later one of the first firms to enter the Iranian legal market.

Types of work undertaken: High-value business litigation and arbitration across a range of sectors including banking and financial services, energy, commodities, shipping, aviation, construction, life sciences, real estate, media and professional services.

Arbitrations under the rules of the LCIA, GAFTA, ICC, UNCITRAL, DIAC and more.

Commercial, acting for major international oil and gas, mining, construction, aviation and media companies as well as international and domestic (private and state-owned) businesses in relation to joint ventures, sale and distribution, franchising and service agreements.

Advising on compliance and corporate crime, intellectual property, cyber law and high-net-worth family matters.

Department Name Email Telephone
Senior partner Sarosh Zaiwalla
Partner Leigh Crestohl
Partner Kartik Mittal
Photo Name Position Profile
 Saurabh Bhagotra  photo Saurabh Bhagotra Solicitor
 Leigh Crestohl  photo Leigh Crestohl Partner
 Kartik Mittal  photo Kartik Mittal Partner
 Rohit Ralleigh  photo Rohit Ralleigh Senior Solicitor
 Sarosh Zaiwalla  photo Sarosh Zaiwalla Senior Partner
Number of UK partners : 3
Number of other UK fee-earners : 9
Chinese (Mandarin)

We are one of the first City law firms started by a solicitor from a BAME background.

Today our London based team remains a mix of nationalities, races and faiths. Diversity is celebrated at this firm. It is also necessary, so that we can service our clients who are of equally diverse international backgrounds.

We want to see a marked change in the legal profession. In keeping with our firm’s origins and values, we are committed to ensure all talented individuals are given a platform regardless, of their individual characteristics or beliefs.

In testament to our ongoing commitment to diversity we act pro bono for the MOBO Awards UK (Music of Black Origin). Our Senior Partner won the Lifetime Achievement award at the Law Society’s Asian Solicitors Award 2017.