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A Life That Invokes Awe

Monica Behura profiles the immensely talented and successful Zia Mody

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma


One of the top lawyers in India, Zia Mody is an authority on corporate merger and acquisition law, securities law, private equity and project finance. Apart from that, she is a wonderful woman too!

Zia's resume invokes awe. Graduation in law from Selwyn College, Cambridge, followed by Masters from Harvard Law School. After passing out from Harvard, she passed the New York State Bar examination, and qualified as an attorney in the State of New York. She worked for five years with Baker & McKenzie, a prestigious law firm in New York, before returning to India in harmony with the request of her husband and her father, the famous Soli Sorabjee, the former attorney general of India.

On coming back to India, she started her own practice in Mumbai in 1984, which she merged twice with other firms to form AZB & Partners, one of the country's largest law firms, where she serves as the managing partner. In addition, she is also a member of the Securities and Exchange Board of India's Standing Committee on Mutual Funds, and member of the Capital Market Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Being a lawyer with exceptional skills, Zia has been recognised for her contribution to the legal world, both in India and abroad. A leading authority on corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, securities law, private equity and project finance, she also advises clients across the world on marquee deals. Her impressive roster of clients include, GE, Tata Group, Reliance Industries Ltd., Aditya Birla Group, Vedanta Group and more. She also advises large private equity houses including KKR, Bain Capital and Warburg.

Over three decades of hard work has made Zia reach a level where the world recognises her. Among India's most prolific legal eagles, Zia Mody has always affirmed that nothing should come in the way of one's ability to work. Driven, she has to her credit some of the country's biggest deals. She has over the years been listed as one of the most powerful business women in India by prestigious publications.

She has reached her way to the top just by being passionate, she has remained passionate over the years, the reason for her humongous success. She along with her partners- Ajay Bahl, Bahram Vakil have built an M&A powerhouse that is engaged in almost every other big ticket deal.

Mody's is one hell of story of a woman who got lucky at every step of her life. A fairy tale when everything that just went right for her. As she put it in an interview to a website: "It's a journey of extra ordinary bounty from the almighty. My story is really one of being provided an ecosystem which at every single milestone in my life allowed me to be my profession best."

Some of AZB's big name clients include the Tatas, HDFC, Bharti-Airtel and Reliance, as well as a cross-section of global and domestic private equity funds. Mody spearheaded Tata Steel's Singapore $486.4 million-acquisition of NatSteel in 2004 followed by Aditya Birla group's $6-billion acquisition of Novelis in 2007. Another feather to the firm's cap was the successful Tata Steel's $12-billion Corus deal in 2007 and Tata Motors' $2.4-billion purchase of Jaguar-Land Rover in 2008. Others include, in 2009 Tata - Docomo $2.7 Billion (Rs. 13,400 crore) deal and Reliance Industries' (RIL's) $7.2-billion deal with BP in 2011.

A devoted mother to three beautiful daughters and a loving wife to business tycoon Jaydev Mody, besides being one of the most respected lawyers in the country, Zia Mody ardently believes that hard work has no substitute.