2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“Partners trust me to handle cases, and I feel like I am able to grow my talents.”
“Trial experience and lawyers who do their very best to win for their clients and to win for each other.”
“You will have decent control over your own schedule and lifestyle.”
“The amount of work can be overbearing.”
“Trial can be stressful, and the hours can be long. The firm puts a lot of trust in you, and that can be daunting.”
“The lack of formal training creates additional stress sometimes, because you have to figure out how to do some things by yourself. …”
About Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C.
Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mending P.C. is a litigation boutique whose attorneys are known for their trial prowess. With a team of nearly 50 lawyers, the firm has participated in more than 225 trials. The firm is a Texas staple, even ranking among the Top 30 firms in Vault’s Best Law Firms in Texas.
From IP to Energy
AZA was founded in 1993 in Texas by Joe Ahmad and John Zavitsanos—both of whom are still at the firm today. Although many of its cases involve high-stakes litigation for multinational companies, AZA also represents individuals and mid-sized businesses with serious legal issues. AZA represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of practice areas, including commercial litigation, company investigations, construction and real estate litigation, executive employment litigation, intellectual property litigation, oil and gas/energy, and trade secrets and covenants not to compete.
While the firm has a strong commercial litigation practice, it is also known for its work in IP litigation, especially patent litigation. The firm’s IP lawyers handle cases across the globe and across multiple industries, such as biochemistry, chemistry, energy, hardware and software, technology, telecom, and transportation. Given its roots in the Lone Star state, it may come as no surprise that the firm also has strength advising clients in the energy sector, including big-name oil and gas companies.
Get on Your Feet
At AZA, lawyers definitely do not sit in the passenger seat for long, including as junior attorneys and summer associates. All associates take on substantive work on a trial within their first year. And summer associates have at least one opportunity to experience a deposition or courtroom session. Summers also engage in a mock argument competition in front of former judges.
News & Awards
Eleven AZA lawyers won national recognition in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America—that includes 75 percent of AZA partners.
AZA partners Joe Ahmad, John Zavitsanos, Demetrios Anaipakos, Amir Alavi, Todd Mensing, and Tim Shelby were all rated for commercial litigation along with of counsel Shawn Bates and associate Sammy Ford IV. It is the first year Messrs. Bates and Ford have made the list. Mr. Mensing was also honored for his construction litigation work.
Partner Jane Langdell Robison was rated for her appellate skills and partner Scott W. Clark was honored for his intellectual property litigation prowess for the first time. Of counsel David Warden was recognized for his both his expertise in patent work and IP litigation.
AZA was once again named by Texas Lawyer magazine as the best boutique-sized litigation department in Texas. The firm won the title Litigation Department of the Year in 2015 and won a specialty practice award from the magazine in 2017.
AZA won the 2019 Litigation Department of the Year award for firms with fewer than 50 lawyers. The annual honor recognizes the Texas-based litigation groups that have excelled during the previous year based on courtroom results. According to the publication, “with fewer than 50 attorneys and a single office, Houston-based Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing made an outsize impact on the nationwide litigation landscape in 2018.”
The Texas Young Lawyers Association has selected AZA commercial litigator Neal Sarkar as Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas for 2019.
Mr. Sarkar was presented with the award at the June 2019 State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting in Austin. Each year, the young lawyer’s organization honors one top attorney for professional proficiency and service to the legal profession and local community.
Mr. Sarkar was nominated by the Houston Young Lawyers Association, which earlier in 2019 had named him Outstanding Young Lawyer for the Greater Houston area.
“Neal has a wildly strong work ethic, charisma and generosity. He really wants to help people, and this award was meant for someone like him. I know he will continue to do great things in the future,” said AZA co-founding partner Joe Ahmad, who nominated Mr. Sarkar for the Houston honor.
For the sixth year, AZA has been named among Texas’ top general commercial litigation firms in the Chambers USA guide, with four of the firm lawyers recognized individually for their legal prowess.
AZA lawyers were described in the 2019 edition as “robust litigation specialists with a reputation as a feared opponent for established national firms. Especially strong experience in representing clients in the technology and energy arenas.”
Chambers USA also said AZA is known as a “trial-oriented group of attorneys who are unafraid to take on the full range of high-value commercial disputes for both plaintiffs and defendants. Particularly active in intellectual property, employment and breach of contract cases.”
Clients told Chambers that AZA has “great depth” and is “a formidable firm which renders quality legal services.”
Why Work Here
AZA is a firm of lawyers who love to go to trial and love to win. The partners will get associates into the courtroom as soon as possible. Associates have been allowed to try cases on their own. And they have won. The firm lawyers are quick-thinking, intense and they value courtroom preparation and client service. The firm has been awarded for great client service.
1221 McKinney, Suite 2500
Houston, TX 77010
Phone: (713) 655-1101
Founders & Managing Partners: Joseph Y. Ahmad & John Zavitsanos
Hiring Partner: John Zavitsanos
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
1 - 50
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $250,000
5th year+: Performance based
Summer associate: $3,654/week
Summer Associate Offers:
6 out of 6 (2Ls) (2019)
No. of Summer Associates:
8 total (2 1Ls; 6 2Ls) (2019)
Director of HR
Company Investigations, Trade Secrets, & Covenants Not to Compete
Construction & Real Estate
Executive Employment Litigation
Oil & Gas/Energy
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.