Solicitors governing body:
IFLR1000 ranking categories in this jurisdiction:
Armenia’s legal system follows the European civil law model. Lawyers, who work on contracts and transactional work, must hold at least undergraduate degrees in law. Meanwhile, aspiring advocates, prosecutors and judges receive additional specialised training. To qualify to handle civil cases, an advocate must also gain a license by becoming a member of the Chamber of Advocates, which requires a minimum of five years’ work in the legal field and passing a bar exam.
With the exception of legal teams from professional services groups, international firms do not have a presence in Armenia and carry out their work through the co-operation of domestic lawyers. Firms such as Arlex International and International Legal Consulting (ILC) were among the first to use US qualified attorneys to provide services for foreign corporate investors in the late 1990s. Other firms including Concern Dialog Law Firm, K&P Law Firm and Legelata developed their corporate practices in the mid-2000s as local work increased. Recently, newer local firms are increasingly being seen on large transactions with Adwise Business & Legal Consulting and Investment Law Group two examples.
Armenian lawyers often provide a full range of financial and corporate advice rather than specialising. On the transactional side, domestic banking and M&A work are the most common forms of financial and corporate work for the country’s leading firms. Company incorporation matters, country-specific due diligence and regulatory advice also tend to be common tasks for local firms. Work within the energy, mining and technology sectors is on the rise in the jurisdiction.
Adwise Business & Legal Consulting is a consulting firm, with a recently launched financial and corporate legal practice. The firm has regularly supported local clients with corporate entry and governance matters, while also taking on mandates to assess the viability of future incorporations.
The firm has been active on obtaining financings, negotiating supply contracts and working with foreign firms on Armenian law matters.
A staffing change during the research period was the addition of senior associate Satenik Nubaryan, who arrived from TK & Partners.
Arge Business, Kamurj Universal Credit Organisation and Yerevan Brandy Company are among the firm’s key clients.
“The firm's lead partner is a highly professional attorney with in-depth understanding of the regulatory environment in Armenia. We have collaborated them on a number of projects, and they have consistently provided quality advice, in a timely matter.” – Banking
“They fully cover all legal needs of our company. They are very diligent and ensure high quality advice. They also go the extra step of assessing related business risks and advising on best-practice solutions.” – Banking
The team at Concern Dialog Law Firm is involved in a range of work, with its strength perhaps lying in the energy sector.
During the research period, the firm advised on a bid concerning the first ever utility-scale solar project in Armenia and on further mandates involving mining and hydropower plants. Other public deal highlights include working on the development of the Meghri Free Economic Zone and assisting the Armenian government on creating a platform that would attract foreign investors.
Staffing changes include the addition of senior associates Hovhannes Khudoyan and Vahagn Grigoryan from AM Law Firm and Brave Law Firm, respectively. On the other side, Roustam Badasyan departed to join the State Revenue Service, with his role as partner suspended during his term in public office.
Key clients include the likes of Imperial Finance, the Renewable Resources and Energy Efficiency Fund (R2E2) and Seaside Startup Summit.
“High level of professionalism. Provides quick feedback with an individual approach, and has flexibility.” – Project development
“The firm does an excellent job. All their staff that we worked with are very professional, experienced, and have excellent analytical skills. They are punctual and meet deadlines. The firm formulates an effective strategy for each case that is assigned to them. The firm keeps confidentiality and gained our trust to go from short-term assignments to long-term partnerships.” – Project development
“We received comprehensive high-quality professional services.” – Project development
“We like the way they organise their activity. They've industrialised their actions (including automation) which helps them process a large quantity of files with ease.” – Restructuring and insolvency
EY Armenia is mostly visible in providing corporate advice to foreign clients entering the Armenian market, notably assisting the likes of Citibank and Sandvik Mining.
The firm’s recent M&A highlights include advising IDBank on the purchase of the client portfolio of Idram’s e-payment system and assisting Eco Fresh in acquiring additional investments, using both Armenian and English law.
Having provided audit and financial services in the jurisdiction since 1999, the firm has expanded its services following the arrival of Levon Gevorgyan and his team. He had previously been the managing partner of Legelata, and now leads EY Armenia’s legal practice. Due to the relatively small size of the Armenian market, partners based in Moscow and Tbilisi support the work of the local team.
Recent clients of the firm include Alfa Pharm, Armenia Aircompany and Converse Bank.
International Legal Consulting (ILC) is a credible provider of corporate legal services and a key contact for foreign businesses interested in entering the Armenian market. Being a founding member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia and having an associated office in San Francisco, the firm has become a popular choice for international clients seeking cross-border advice. The firm recently completed work in sectors including automobiles, healthcare and telecommunications.
In the projects space, a highlight deal was assisting Acciona to submit a winning bid in the tender announced by the Renewable Resources and Energy Efficiency Fund (R2E2) for the Masrik photovoltaic power plant in Armenia. The firm’s commercial team has also provided general corporate support for foreign clients in complying with Armenian legislation requirements. ILC assisted the likes of Gazprom, Polpharma, Porsche and Wells Fargo in such matters during the research period.
Multinational corporations such as Google, JPMorgan, Lufthansa and Pfizer are among the firm’s key clients.
“ILC is prompt, efficient and consistently does a good job with all work requested of them.” – Banking, M&A
“Excellent team with broad experience.” – Banking, project development
“ILC has deep knowledge of the corporate law of Armenia and Armenian law relevant to entities operating in the financial industry.” – M&A
“I have engaged with ILC for 12 years and continue to. The reason I'm a return client is the personal care and attention I receive from the firm. They have provided quality legal advice and engaged lawyers (in-house and otherwise) to provide targeted and tailored portfolio management. The firm is available virtually around the clock, and I have been able to work with staff and executives on a variety of issues and initiatives.” – Project development
K&P Law Firm is best known for its banking and M&A practices, where it provides services across sectors including financial services, mining and telecommunications.
During the research period, the firm’s highlights include being engaged by Churchill Prima Fund on a legal due diligence task, and operating as local counsel on a cross-border banking transaction carried out for Crédit Agricole. A further standout mandate was acting for Proparco in connection with a senior credit facility to Amerabank. The firm regularly works with foreign and local financial institutions, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
In the projects area, the firm assisted Access Consultants on its envisaged investment in wind energy in Armenia by advising on market entry, foreign direct investment matters and government regulations.
Key clients that the firm has advised recently include Qatar Airways, Schneider Electric and Siemens. Supermarket chain, Carrefour, and hotel chain, ibis, are other international clients who sought the firm’s advice for entering the jurisdiction.
Legelata’s strength is in banking and finance, and it is renowned in the market for its work on syndicated finance transactions. The firm has been active in sectors such as financial services, healthcare and telecommunications.
In the M&A space, the firm’s recent highlight deals include advising Agrif Coöperatief on its acquisition of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the German Investment Corporation’s stake in InecoBank.
In the project development area, the firm supported ABB in a tender for the Caucuses Energy Network project.
Notable staffing changes during the research period include the return of banking and finance partner, Gor Margaryan, who spent four years at Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co. Senior associate, Zaruhi Arzumanyan also joined the firm from IU Networks.
Domestic banks such as Ameriabank and Evocabank, as well as credit organisations such as Express Credit and Garni Invest are among the firm’s key clients.