Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing has whittled the firm’s name from 45 characters to 27 characters with the departure of name partners Demetrios Anaipakos and Amir Alavi, firm leadership said Wednesday.
In a statement issued to The Texas Lawbook on Wednesday afternoon, name partner John Zavitsanos confirmed that Anaipakos and Alavi, who both specialize in intellectual property litigation, are no longer with the Houston-based litigation boutique firm, that the firm will still be branded as AZA and that the firm’s new full name will be Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing.
“We will go forward full-blast as a trial firm with deep intellectual property expertise,” Zavitsanos said.
Zavitsanos declined further comment on the circumstances surrounding their departure.
Efforts to reach Anaipakos and Alavi Wednesday were unsuccessful. Both of their firm bios have already been removed from AZA’s website.
AZA has grown steadily during nearly three decades of operation and has developed a reputation as aggressive advocates for companies and executives and is never hesitant to take cases to trial. At 50 lawyers, the firm generated more than $48.4 million in revenue in 2021, according to the upcoming Texas Lawbook 50 firm finance report.
The firm was founded in 1993 by Zavitsanos and Joe Ahmad, who met in law school. Ahmad practiced before at Crain, Caton & James and Zavitsanos was at Baker Botts.
In 2000, Anaipakos joined from Vinson & Elkins as the third name partner after Ahmad and Zavitsanos unsuccessfully attempted to recruit his brother, John Anaipakos, from Baker Botts.
“People who know me know me as Plan B,” Anaipakos said in a 2019 interview. “My brother is … very cautious, very prudent — I’m not really any of those things. I watched John sort of try to decide, ultimately he just loves Baker Botts. It was a year and a half process. John turned to me and said, ‘how about you?’”
According to his LinkedIn page, Alavi, who Anaipakos said he had known since boyhood, joined the firm in 2001.
AZA leaders often joked about the lengthiness of the firm’s name and frequently told jurors, “Just think of us as two Greeks and sheik.”
“We operate like a family with passion, but not in the Hallmark card way,” Zavitsanos told The Texas Lawbook in a 2014 interview. “When we have disagreements, it is nuclear war, just like a family. But we trust each other, too.”
The firm, according to the 2014 article, has no partnership agreements and keeps no origination documentation.
“Money is the consequence of what we do, not the reason we do it,” Zavitsanos said.
Anaipakos, in the 2019 interview, said Zavitsanos is the godfather to his middle daughter and he is the godfather to Zavitsanos’ youngest daughter.
“Other firms are about money,” he said. “For us, it’s about winning and it’s about family.”