Fourteen AZA Lawyers Earn 2018 Texas Rising Stars Accolades
March 12, 2018

HOUSTON – AZA, or Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing, is proud to announce that 14 firm attorneys have been named to the 2018 Texas Rising Stars list, which recognizes the state’s leading young lawyers.

For the second consecutive year, AZA associate Sammy Ford IV was named a “Top 100 Texas Up & Coming” lawyer for his business litigation skills. Associates Benjamin FosterTaylor Freeman, Foster Johnson, Adam Milasincic, Neal Sarkar and Monica Uddin were selected to the 2017 listing in recognition of their business litigation skills.

Firm associates Ifti Ahmed, Justin Chen, Alisa LipskiMichael McBride, Jason McManis   and Kyril Talanov were recognized for their work in intellectual property litigation, and associate Ryan Hackney was selected for his civil litigation expertise.

Texas Rising Stars, published by Thomson Reuters’ legal division, is an exclusive list of the state’s top lawyers who are age 40 or younger or who have been in practice no more than 10 years.

“Our clients are represented by great young legal talent,” said John Zavitsanos, an AZA founding partner. “We are pleased to have 13 colleagues named to this prestigious list for their work in both complex commercial litigation and intellectual property.”

Mr. Ford is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. His practice ranges from catastrophic personal injury cases to class actions to business torts. He is a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and has been selected for the Rising Stars list six times.

This is Mr. Ahmed’s first time on the list. Before pursuing a legal career, Mr. Ahmed was an engineer, and his expertise undergirds his legal practice in intellectual property where he focuses on patent litigation and complex technical cases. He earned his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

Mr. Chen’s practice focuses on patent litigation and copyright and trademark matters. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania Law School, Mr. Chen has litigated cases in district courts across the country as well as the International Trade Commission. This is his first selection to the list.

This is the fourth appearance on the Rising Stars list for Mr. Foster, who represents clients in commercial litigation and IP litigation. The University of Chicago Law School graduate has handled a number of software licensing, patent, trade secret and complex commercial matters.

Mr. Freeman’s complex commercial litigation practice includes breach of contract, energy, tort, intellectual property and construction. A graduate of the New York University School of Law, this is the first time he has been named to the list of Texas’ top young attorneys.

This is Mr. Hackney’s second appearance on the list. He is a commercial litigator who has represented energy companies in a variety of disputes. A graduate of Harvard University, Mr. Hackney worked as a management consultant and writer before attending the University of Texas School of Law.

Mr. Johnson is a trial lawyer who focuses on complex commercial litigation. He has represented a variety of Fortune 100 companies in contract disputes, oil and gas matters, intellectual property litigation, and large scale consumer and securities class actions. A graduate of Stanford Law School, this is his first selection to the list.

Ms. Lipski focuses on patent infringement litigation and appeals, including successfully litigating patent issues covering software, satellite, oilfield and medical technology. A graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, she is making her sixth appearance on the Texas Rising Stars list.

This is the third time Mr. McBride has been named to Rising Stars. A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, he is an intellectual property lawyer who focuses primarily on patent litigation and patent prosecution matters.

Mr. McManis is on this list for the first time this year. He is University of Virginia School of Law graduate who helps individuals and businesses with high stakes intellectual property disputes and other complex business litigation, including co-founder and partnership disputes.

Mr. Milasincic’s practice centers on complex commercial litigation involving multimillion-dollar contract disputes, partnership break ups, business torts and more. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, and this is his fourth time on the list.

This is Mr. Sarkar’s first time on the list. He focuses on all types of complex commercial litigation in state and federal court, and has experience with internal and government investigations, including proceedings before the Securities and Exchange Commission and the State Department. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, and is a past recipient of the Rising Star Award from the South Asian Bar Association of North America.

Mr. Talanov’s practice focuses on IP matters, including patent and trade secret litigation. Before attending the University of Houston Law Center, he was a process engineer in oil, gas, and petrochemicals technology. He has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and graduated cum laude from Texas Tech University. This is his second selection to the list.

Ms. Uddin is a trial lawyer who represents both plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial litigation. She graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a Levitan Scholar. This is her sixth selection to the Texas Rising Stars list.

The complete Texas Rising Stars list can be found in the April 2018 issues of Texas Monthly and the Texas Rising Stars edition of Super Lawyers magazine, and online at

AZA, or Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing, is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, intellectual property, and business dispute cases. AZA is recognized by Chambers USA 2017 among the best in Texas commercial law; by U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ Best Law Firms as one of the country’s best commercial litigation firms for 2018; and previously by Law360 as a Texas Powerhouse law firm. National corporate counsel named AZA one of the country’s best in client service among law firms serving the Fortune 1000.


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