|Full name||Zia Jaydev Mody Whos Who Legal|
|Famous For||Being one of the most powerful women entrepreneurs in India by Fortune India in 2018 and 2019|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters- 162 cm
in meters- 1.62 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 4”
|Eye Colour||Dark Brown|
|Hair Colour||Salt and pepper|
|Founder & Managing Partner||AZB & Partners|
|Practice Area||Arbitration Law|
|Member||• Standing Committee on Mutual Funds in Securities and Exchange Board of India
• Capital Market Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
• Deputy Chairman and as Director of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, Hong Kong
• The Governing Board of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA)
• CII National Council
• Reserve Bank of India Committee on Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low-Income Households, 2013
• The Godrej Committee on Corporate Governance set up by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (2012)
• The World Bank Administrative Tribunal, Washington D.C. (2008-2013)
• The Vice President and Member of the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) (2010 -2013)
• The Deputy Chairman and Non-executive Director of HSBC Asia-Pacific Board
• New Era High School, Panchgani, Maharashtra
|Panel Head||Zia was on the panel of the expert committee set up by the Law Commission of India on 'Amendment to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996' to review the provisions of the Act in view of the several inadequacies observed in the functioning of the Act (2014).|
|Awards, Honours, Achievements||• Zia has been featured in the Forbes list of "Power Women in Business."
• She has been listed in the top 50 Most Powerful Women list published by Fortune India.
• She was also named one of India's 100 Most Powerful CEOs by The Economic Times in 2004 and 2006.
• She is also the recipient of the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence as the Businesswoman of the Year, 2010.
• Business Today listed Zia as one of the 25 most powerful businesswomen in India several times from September 2004 to 2011.
• She is a recipient of the Financial Express Knowledge Professional of the Year Award.
• She was titled as band 1 lawyer for Private Equity 2012 to 2015 by Chambers and Partners Global.
• She won the 'Lifetime Achievement Award' at the Euromoney Asia Women in Business Law Awards, 2015.
• She earned "India Managing Partner of the Year – 2016" by Asian Legal Business (Thomson Reuters).
• She was titled as the 'Leading Individual for Banking, Finance, Corporate and M&A and Investment Funds' in the Legal 500 Asia-Pacific, 2016.
• She received the 'Star Individual' for Corporate / M&A Band 1 lawyer for Banking & Finance 2012 to 2016.
• She was recognized as a Top 13 female Acritas Star globally by Acritas Star in 2018.
• She was one of the 300 leading female transactional experts by IFLR1000 Women Leaders, 2018.
• Zia Mody is classified as a 'Leading Individual' for Banking & Finance, Corporate and M&A, and Investment Funds in The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific, 2018.
• She won "Professional of the Year - 2017" at the inaugural UK India Awards.
• She was termed a "Market Leader" for Mergers & Acquisitions by IFLR1000 Financial & Corporate Guide in 2018.
• She was recognized as a "Market Leading Lawyer" for Corporate/M&A by AsiaLaw Profiles 2016 to 2018.
• She is the winner of Legal Icon of the Year 2019, Legal Era.
• She is recognised as “Leading Lawyer,” one of the 300 leading female transactional experts, IFLR1000 Women Leaders, 2019.
• She was awarded ‘Freedom of the City’ honor by the City of London Corporation, 2020.
•She won the Leading Individual for Corporate and M&A and Investment Funds,The Legal 500, 2020.
Note: She has many more awards and accolades to her name.
|Date of Birth||19 July 1956 (Thursday)|
|Age (as of 2021)||65 Years|
|School||Elphinstone College, Mumbai, India|
|College/University||• Cambridge University, England
• Harvard Law School, Massachusetts, US
|Educational Qualification(s)||• Zia Mody attained her initial education at Elphinstone College, Mumbai. The Voyage to excellence by Nischinta Amarnath and Debashish Ghosh
• Mody studied Law at Selwyn College, Cambridge, England.
• She earned an LLM degree from Harvard Law School, Massachusetts in 1978. Zia Mody's LinkedIn Profile
|Religion||She follows Bahá'í Faith. In an interview, while talking about her religious views, she said, "I follow the Baha’i Faith (a monotheistic religion emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind), a religion founded by our Prophet Baha’u’llah over 150 years ago. Apart from the faith having an irrefutable principle of men and women being absolutely equal in the eyes of God (which made it very attractive for me!), it is a religion of choice." Live Mint
Note: Her father is a Zoroastrian, while her husband is a Hindu. Live Mint
|Caste||Zoroastrian Live Mint|
|Hobbies||She loves to play the Piano (According to Zia Mody, she has learnt to play the Piano at the Royal School of Music), Reading Religious Books, Travelling, Horse-riding|
|Relationships & More|
|Husband||Jaydev Mody (Chairman of Delta Corporation Limited)
|Parents||Father- Soli Sorabjee (a former Attorney General of India)
|Children||Daughters- She has 3 daughters.
• Aditi Mody (Furniture designer)
• Aarti Mody (Lawyer)
• Anjali Mody (Works with Wildlife Conservation Trust)
|Siblings||She has 3 brothers.
|Travel destinations||Kenya and Goa|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Zia Mody
Zia Mody is an Indian corporate lawyer and businesswoman who is the daughter of Soli Sorabjee, a former Attorney General of India. She is the founding partner of AZB & Partners (India’s one of the leading law firms), which was set up in 2004. Zia Mody is one of India’s leading corporate attorneys. Ms. Mody has worked with Tata Group, Reliance Industries, Aditya Birla Group, the Vedanta Group, and General Electric. She also provides legal advice to big private equity firms including Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Warburg Pincus. Zia Mody is known for her exceptional contribution to the legal arena, both in India and internationally.
- After completing her college studies in the US, in 1979, she passed the New York State Bar examination, following which Zia worked for five years with Baker & McKenzie in New York City, before returning to India. She was qualified as an attorney in the State of New York. The Voyage to Excellence: The Ascent of 21 Women Leaders of India Inc By Nischinta Amarnath, Debashish Ghosh
- In 1984, Zia started her law practice in Mumbai, and she started her own law firm ‘Chambers of Zia Mody.’ In 1995, she merged with other legal ventures to form AZB & Partners with Ajay Bahl and Bahram Vakil (AZB & Partners) as partners. This legal firm, which kickstarted in 2004 with only 12 lawyers, is one of the largest law firms in India. Mody is the managing partner in AZB & Partners. This venture has offices in Mumbai, Delhi, Banglore, and Pune with 400 legal professionals.
- In 2004, in the first year of setting up the partnership under the leadership of Zia Mody, AZB was invited to offer its services for Tata Steel to advise on its $500 million purchase of NatSteel, a Singapore-based Mining & Metals company.
- In 2008, AZB & Partners guided Tata Motors on the acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover for the US $2.3 billion. At that time, Sunil Mittal (the founder and chairperson of Bharti Enterprises) was planning to purchase ‘Zain Telecom,’ a South African mobile telecommunications company (2005-2010), for over US $9 billion, he hired Zia Mody as the legal advisor.
- In 2013, in a conversation with a media person, Zia Mody’s friend Shanoor Forbes (an official with an Airline company in India) recalled that Zia always had a strong or habitual liking for selecting the ill-tempered horses. Shanoor said,
Zia took one horse that none of us would ride on because he was very temperamental. He used to startle easily. But Zia always liked that horse and won many races with it. Zia’s favorite was named Sacrius, known for toppling its riders. She bagged several trophies at the Amateur Rider’s Club.”
- On 13 January 2013, Zia Mody, the managing partner of AZB & Partners, had received the award for ‘Outstanding Woman Business Leader’ of the Year at CNBC-TV18’s 2013 ‘India Business Leader Awards.’ During a ceremony at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai, the award was presented by her father, senior counsel Soli Sorabjee.
- In 2014, in an interview, speaking on entrepreneurship and starting up, Ms. Mody said the things in India were growing up because of the government’s liberalization policy, which opened a lot of opportunities for foreign companies to set up in India. Zia said,
At the council, you are not really on your own. You are somebody’s junior. I wanted to do something on my own and the timing was right in the early 1990s. Things were growing in India because of liberalization. A lot of foreign companies were looking to set up shops in India. India was really the buzzword that time.”
Zia added that passion, commitment, and hard work were mandatory for a successful budding entrepreneur because you need to keep yourself updated with the changing rules and laws of the government. She said,
Why would anyone come to the chambers of Zia Mody instead of going to a blue-chip firm like Mulla & Mulla? But I started at an exciting time in India when many changes were being made in the laws. We had to keep ourselves constantly updated. Even though we were small, we did a good job of convincing clients. We were right up there in terms of timing and commitment. Those were the times when responsiveness would get you a premium. And we tried to differentiate ourselves by being responsive and working hard. Our reputation started to grow, and we started getting more and more work.”
- In an interview, Ms. Mody said that her initial years as a young lawyer had been significantly impacted by Obed Chinoy (a Pakistani-Canadian journalist, filmmaker, and activist) and Norman Miller (an American journalist). Zia regards Obed Chinoy and Norman Miller as her mentors.
- In 2014, in an interview, while talking about her children, Zia said her daughters brought a spark to her eyes. She explained what professions her daughters chose in Mumbai. She said,
I did not spend enough time with them when they were young, though I have spent quality time. My husband was very supportive. I now have time to be with them, but they are very busy. My first daughter has her own furniture design store in Mumbai, called Josmo. My second daughter is studying law. She will be graduating this year. My third daughter works with Wildlife Conservation Trust.”
- In 2014, in an interview, when Ms. Mody was asked about the romantic side of her relationship with Jaydev Mody, she explained her childhood love story that eventually led them to get married. She narrated,
This is an old childhood sweetheart story. Jaydev was my boy-next-door and we would pretend to play cricket and bowl and beat till it would get so dark you could not see the ball or the bat. I used to be very fond of riding, so he would come to the racecourse and do a fairly bad job of riding, so we could be together. As the years went on, it was just something that was very special. I think even today, as I always tell my children, my best friend in the world is my husband.”
- In an interview in 2014, Ms. Mody opened up while conversing about her religion. She explained that she always contributed charity to Baha’i Fund (a religion) as her mother, grandmother and great grandmother were all Baha’i. She narrated that according to Baha’i law she had to give a certain percentage of her savings every year to the fund. She said,
I became a Baha’i at the age of 21. My mother, grandmother and great grandmother were all Baha’is before me. My father is a Zoroastrian. My husband is a Hindu. One of the critical tenets of Baha’i faith is that it is a privilege to donate and the fund-giving is called the “life blood of the faith”. Only a Baha’i can contribute to the Baha’i Fund. The Lotus Temple in Delhi is a proud icon for the entire world’s Baha’i community and delights millions of visitors each year. It was entirely funded only by Baha’is from all over the world and, therefore, took 20 years to build. In addition, we are required under the Baha’i law to give a certain percentage of our savings every year to the fund.”
- Former India Beachhead advisor, Zia Mody is often seen giving advice to budding business persons who want to deal with foreign corporations in the export business. In 2015, in an interview, she gave thorough guidance and instructions on how to enter a new partnership with a foreign company, specifically in New Zealand. She provided an overview of the Indian legal system for the New Zealand exporter and paved the way for protecting intellectual property in the market.
- Clients of Zia Mody often praise her officially by saying that she is one of India’s foremost corporate attorneys. She is a problem solver and meticulous. She is a result-oriented and thorough personality and she has a “quick grasp.” In an interview, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Industries, praised Zia and said that she was much more than just a lawyer. He said,
One of the things that impress me is Zia’s ability to distill a business issue and offer an integrated point of view.”
In an interview, Cyrus Mistry, former Chairman Tata Group, while talking about Zia and her work commitments, said,
Mody’s accessibility round the clock is “a huge value-add—and something that no one should ever take for granted from their lawyers.”
In an interview, Ronnie Screwvala, an entertainment entrepreneur, praised Zia’s work and said that Zia always acted as an advisor while working for him. He said,
She is a plus-plus lawyer who always acts as an advisor.”
- Zia Mody, in her interviews, has often seen focusing on inspiring and motivating budding women professional entrepreneurs in India. She has written articles to energize and encourage women’s inner spirits. Some of her famous articles include ‘Work hard, delegate, encourage and learn to say no: my advice to young professional women, ‘Blood, sweat and tears,’ and ‘The changing landscape of regulatory oversight for India INC.’
- Even after being a busy entrepreneur, Zia Mody takes out time to party and spend time with friends and family members. In August 2016, a photo was shared on Instagram by Zia Mody’s daughter Anjali. In the picture, Zia was seen with Mahesh Jethmalani (a senior advocate at Bombay High Court), celebrating her birthday in Goa.
- In June 2017, she was speaking at a gender conference in Mumbai, Zia Mody recalled the time she delivered her 3rd daughter. She told that she had to fight against society’s patriarchal mindset at that time. She said,
I will never forget this incident. I was in the hospital, having just delivered my third daughter and since there was no private room, I was sharing one with a few other women. There, I met a Kashmiri lady, who started crying when she heard that I had a third daughter. That was the most depressing hour.”
- In 2019, at a conference, while speaking about women’s power, Zia explained the ignorance women faced in our society in India. She mentioned the statistics that 48% of women drop out at different points of their careers mainly because we were still living in a male dominating society. She said,
While it is still a man’s world, you can work on the men. I think gradually they are waking up to the fact that women’s contribution is invaluable. Nobody is doing women a favor beyond a point. Women are bringing immense value to the industry, so an organization would be pretty stupid to let them go.”
She focused on the women’s upliftment and advised them to retrain and reset their thought processes. She added,
You will get passionate if you are confident about what you know. If you are confident about what you know in your domain, if you have domain, you have value, the workforce will find a way to get back to you. This becomes easier when heads of organizations are women, as women are nimble and flexible.”
- Zia is a music lover. Zia Mody is often spotted enjoying the evenings of percussion music at South Mumbai, Arts venue, Jamshed Bhabha Theatre.
- Many upcoming and budding legal divas including Fereshte Sethna and Anuradha Dutt (the important persons of the equally low-profile law firm- Dutt Menon Dunmorrsett (DMD)) are the two such smart and confident women lawyers who are following India’s one of the best-known legal lawyers Zia Mody.
- In an interview, when Zia was asked what kind of change she wanted to bring to the Indian judicial system, she said that she wanted to change the ‘Archaic Law’ that had outlined their utility.
- Zia described herself as intentionally passionate and eternally curious when she was asked to describe herself in one sentence by the media person in a conversation.
- Zia Modi has often seen speaking on recognizing women’s talent. In a video, in 2020, she was seen saying that the private industry was yet to recognize women in leadership terms, in India. She remarked that women were of value to the corporations they were working in. She further said that across the world, only 10% of women were in senior PE positions. She added that Limited Partnerships should urge General Partnerships to provide outcome-based results on gender diversity in India. She focussed on the point that recognization of women’s talent was scarce in India. Mody conceded that access to high-quality education for women was a problem.
- In an interview, when Zia Mody was asked that what was the most memorable moment in her life, she said that while practicing and fighting in junior courts, she developed a great presence of mind. She said,
When I was a junior counsel, fighting away in various courts, learning how to dance in court, and develop a quick presence of mind.”
- Zia Mody is a dog lover. She often posts pictures of her pet dogs on her social media accounts.
- Zia Mody has featured in many special issues of various renowned magazines and tabloids with her successful life achievements as a lawyer.
- In 2020, Zia Mody shared her life advice while speaking at an event organized by the Baha’i community on the eve of International Women’s Day. She said,
I believe in the Baha’i’s teachings that mankind and womankind as parts of composite humanity are co-equal and no difference in the estimate is allowable for all are humans.”
- In 2021, at the WESA (Women Entrepreneurs Support Association), in a keynote address, Zia Mody shared her valuable advice with budding women entrepreneurs on how to manage their time. Zia said that amateur women entrepreneurs should take better decisions at difficult times and must flourish in their entrepreneurial journey. She said,
All of us realise is the fact that the main enemy in life is time. I think we very often get the balance wrong – it is important to be the master of your time and your diary. I have been viciously outsourcing the thing that I don’t need to do. I insist on my day being as efficient as possible.”
She further spoke on the challenges that women entrepreneurs face in modern India. She stated,
I think the problem with us, as women, is that it becomes hard sometimes to manage everything together. And, what you give up is your work. I think at those times, we should pause. Do not take decisions when you are under stress. Take a few days off. Do not give up at the worst times when you are going through trauma. Reach out to the infrastructure (e.g., family) which supports you.”
Mody further advised on being practical. She said that in given challenges, it was obvious and understandable to find oneself in troubled and difficult situations even though one may have started very strong. She concluded,
I urge all of you to dream big and continue to hold onto that dream. It is true you have to make compromises here and there. The minute you lose the passion for what you do – you won’t sustain.”