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Zia Mody, 63

Co-founder, AZB & Partners

Previous Rank : 1

Even in a year with tepid corporate activity, Mody had her hands full. Her firm AZB & Partners was involved in all the corporate deals that made news but Mody also represented the Reserve Bank of India in the constitutional challenge of the February 12 circular about the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. And she’s not just happy closing big-ticket deals: she ensures that her firm stays ahead of the curve by becoming proficient in evolving trends and expanding its practice into new areas. Mody, a LinkedIn influencer with 20,000 followers, worked on the first hostile takeover in the Indian information technology sector, which saw engineering firm Larsen & Toubro snatching Mindtree from its promoters. The deal was worth $1.2 billion. AZB also represented KKR in its acquisition through Radiant of the Max Hospitals platform with a deal size of over $1.4 billion. And it is representing Reliance Industries in the sale of the East West Pipeline to Brookfield. The size of the deal is approximately $1.9 billion. Reliance boss Mukesh Ambani, who has interacted with Mody for more than 20 years, told Fortune India in 2015 she was much more than a lawyer. She has, Ambani said, “the ability to distil a business issue and offer an integrated global, social, and sustainable view. And she’s blunt about it”.