Saniya Perzadayeva elaborates on the firm’s transformation into Unicase in her interview to Forbes


As a managing partner of the law firm, how would you define the distinguishing features of your particular law firm. 

Unicase is represented by 4 partners, 2 offices in Almaty and Astana and a team of lawyers with more than 15 years professional experience in advising on the largest transactions in the country, which reaches 10 billions of dollars benchmark.

Following six successful years of operation in the legal market we have progressed to the transformation stage and changed the brand name of the firm to correspond the new wave of our unique development as Unicase.

We keep advising on infrastructure, mining, energy and renewables sectors, and aim for deeper involvement within these sectors on a more complex manner and offer our clients practical solutions. Our advice is not limited to pure consulting, we are also involved in project management and structure the deal with the clients, work closely with technical and financial advisors in the spheres of district heating, water and waste management, social infrastructure, develop the tax practice and IP, engage in large M&A projects and advise on complex international transactions for the purchase and sale of assets.

Our team is the main driving force and success of the firm.  We are constantly in competition, competing not only with other firms, but internally as well. Every lawyer in the firm has to be better today than he was yesterday, show the best results and learn new skills. We know the sectors in which we operate. We are neither technical nor financial experts, but we can distinguish the Watt from the Volt to understand the project from inside.

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Who are the clients of your law firm?

The Development banks, which play an important role in the development of our region; foreign companies and national clients in search of new markets in Asia, Iran, CIS countries and the USA. In many sectors, we are already known as legal advisers of the first choice, we rarely participate in public procurement, often clients come to us directly.

We enter the project at the stage when it just starts emerging, investing hundreds of our hours on the elaboration of a viable structure. This approach has made us experts in our sectors, we see particulars in more details and deeper than our competitors.

More than 70% of our clients are drown by good recommendation, represents the appreciation for our hard work and expands so called “circle of trusts” with including new clients and friends.

The remaining 30% of our clientele is the result of carefully prepared marketing activities.

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Saniya, how would you define the perfect partner of the law firm?

Partner in a law firm is not limited by his/her high qualification in a certain sphere of law, the partner acts as the project manager, and devotes 24 hours a day 7 days a week to his/her profession.

Partner is a public person who attends conferences, makes presentations and publishes articles.

We work in a complicated region, hence, the partner needs to have a perfect reputation, to be the person worth looking up to for the younger generation. This is the main reason our partners give lectures in leading universities of Kazakhstan, provide workshops, engage in social projects with the youth and participate in pro bono projects. After all, living in our own motherland, we are aspired to take active position, envision the future of ourselves and our children in Kazakhstan.

Partners of our firm lead different practices, we trust each other, try to bring up new partners inside the firm who are the young ambitious professionals with excellent future.

What roles do the partners play in the firm?

– I am responsible for strategic management of the firm, partake in key meetings, and participate in several working groups at the governmental level and business associations. I am often invited to speak at conferences and forums in Kazakhstan and abroad. The audience is interested to hear more generic topics not limited by professional issues, for instance, the role of women in the business, the balance and harmony of family and professional life.

Artem Timoshenko, Zhanar Abdullayeva and Raushana Chotabaeva lead different sectors. Even geographically we are responsible for the different directions, everyone is responsible and everyone is doing what he is best at.

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What inspires you in your work?

— I am always happy and inspired to see young professionals who joined us at the early stage of our development progressed to become focused professionals in the selected practices. And, of course, as a woman I am always inspired by my children and they are the biggest source of joy in my life.

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How do you see the development of your profession in the nearest future?

-Clients attempt to obtain the best quality services for less money; they want fixed prices and greater transparency of pricing methods. I am ensured that the introduction of new technologies, automation and standardization are standard processes within the law firms. Over the years, the transition to mobile devices, transferring of all data to cloud services, the use of IT solutions in our everyday work will continue. As a result, the work can be done faster, easier and with limited budgets. In some countries the standard due diligence is done by robots. Therefore, there are a number of challenges for the legal profession, and we need to think about them today.

We care about the regulation of our profession and advise professionals to support and become members of self-regulatory professional organisation – KazBar Association. As in any developed society, the high standards of work and responsibility of lawyers play a crucial role, and the qualification is very important, verified by expertise, not just diploma.

I have a strong belief in the development of legal profession.