Nine AZA Lawyers Earn 2020 Texas Rising Stars Accolades 
March 11, 2020

HOUSTON – AZA is proud to announce that nine of its attorneys have been named to the 2020 Texas Rising Stars list, which recognizes the state’s leading young lawyers.


For the fourth straight year, AZA associate Sammy Ford IV was named a “Top 100 Texas Up & Coming” lawyer for his business litigation skills. Also recognized in the business litigation practice area this year were associates Rey FloresTaylor FreemanFoster JohnsonNeal Sarkar and Monica Uddin. Associates Justin ChenJason McManis and Kyril Talanov were recognized for their work in intellectual property litigation.

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


“We hire carefully from the best schools and it is no surprise to see so many of our associates honored,” said John Zavitsanos, an AZA co-founding partner. 

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 Rising Stars honors eight times.


Mr. Chen’s practice focuses on patent litigation and copyright and trademark matters. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Mr. Chen has litigated cases in district courts across the country as well as before the International Trade Commission. This is his third year to be listed by Rising Stars.


Mr. Flores is a trial lawyer and combat veteran who brings to the courtroom the same focus and will to win that he displayed on active duty with the U.S. Army. An honors graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and a dean’s list graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, Mr. Flores has tried 26 cases to verdict with 16 of those as lead counsel. This is his first year to be on the Rising Stars list.


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 third time he has been named to the list of Texas’ top young attorneys.


Mr. Johnson, who focuses on complex commercial litigation, 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 third selection to the list.


Mr. McManis is on this list for the third time. He is a 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.


This is Mr. Sarkar’s third time on the list. His practice involves all types of complex commercial litigation. He also has experience with internal and government investigations, including proceedings before the SEC 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 fourth year to make the list.


Ms. Uddin is a trial lawyer who represents both plaintiffs and defendants. She has represented energy companies and other businesses and individuals in a variety of complex matters including contract disputes, partnership breakups and trade secrets. She has a technology background and is active with AZA’s intellectual property team. She graduated from the University of Chicago Law School. This is her eighth year on the Texas Rising Stars list.


The complete Texas Rising Stars list can be found in the April 2020 issues of Texas Monthly and the Texas Rising Stars edition of Super Lawyers magazine, and online at 


AZA, or Ahmad, ZavitsanosAnaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., 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 2019 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 eight years running; was named 2019 Litigation Department of the Year by Texas Lawyer; and was previously dubbed by Law360 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 500 and 1000. 

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