Steven Hannah

Name: Steven Hannah
Job: Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Industry: Law
Class of: 2000
House: Bannerman

What do you do?

I am a partner in the London office of the US law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. I help private equity firms and other financial sponsors (including pension funds, family offices and sovereign wealth funds) acquire, manage and dispose of investments. These will typically be investments related to European and North American based companies across lots of different sectors (such as technology, industrials, infrastructure and consumer goods). 

How did you get to where you are today?

A combination of hard work, common sense and a bit of luck.

I studied Law at the University of Edinburgh. After a less than perfect third year of that degree (to put it kindly), I was staring down the barrel of 2.2 degree and failing to secure a training contract. With that wake up call, I knuckled down and managed to claw it back in my final year and achieved a 2.1. A training contract at the Edinburgh law firm Burness (now Burness Paull) followed. 
After a few years with Burness, my wife decided she wanted to move to London to undertake a Masters degree for one year. I managed to get a position at the London law firm, Linklaters, and moved down south with her. We settled there and have never managed to move back to Scotland as planned (maybe one day!).  
At Linklaters I found a mentor, Richard Youle, who was a Senior Partner. We subsequently moved firms together (twice), ending up where I am now. He has guided me through my career over the last 12 years and has been able to look out for me at key decision points, which has helped me focus on areas where I needed to develop my skills, eventually becoming a Partner myself in 2021.    

What is a standout memory of your time at The High School of Glasgow?

I look back at my time at the High School with very fond memories – whether it be after school or weekend sport (which I hated at the time, but now love), the quality of the teaching and the inspirational teachers, the exceptional facilities and of course the many close friendships which I have maintained to this day. 
Some specific things that spring to mind are the trips to Poitiers and the Italian Alps. As well as lunchtime and after school car park football. Mr Jensen’s economics and business studies classes (which ignited a love of the business world which has continued to this day) and learning Scottish country dancing (a useful skill for weddings). Perhaps slightly less good was getting left behind when leaving for a trip to Scotland Street School and captaining the 4ths rugby team to what was, I think, at the time a record 133-0 defeat (and the shame of that score being read out at assembly). 
Above all, my time at HSOG provided an excellent grounding for everything I have gone onto achieve. I have always thought I wouldn’t be where I am today had it not been for the continued support from the School. It made me believe, and gave me the confidence, that I could at least attempt to achieve anything I wanted to if I put my mind to it.   

What one piece of advice would you give to current pupils and recent leavers as they look to their futures?

Try and make the most of the immersive privilege of having attended one of, if not the, finest schools in Scotland. The grounding that your education has provided presents an opportunity to push yourself if you want to seize that chance. 
Also, I would encourage people to be international – whether that be studying abroad, working abroad or taking the time to travel the world and experiencing something a bit different. Some of the most interesting aspects of what I do on a day-to-day basis are the interactions I have with people and organisations in countries all over the world, and the multinational team of people I work with in London. 
And, finally, don’t underestimate the importance of having someone in your career who can take you under their wing and guide your development and ultimately progression – find your person.

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