Modern Law Magazine Modern Law Magazine
10 Mins With

Hannah Ford

Back to the interviews


  1. What is your most memorable achievement whilst working in your current role? 


A memorable achievement is being made up to Partner at Stevens & Bolton in 2017, which was a real career milestone having joined the firm as a Trainee Solicitor. I was made up to Partner at a point when I had two pre-school age children, and whilst working part time. I felt hugely supported. Being ‘home grown’ there was a real sense of affection and celebration within the firm, many of the Partners having played a pivotal role in my career and its progression. Our (now) Senior Partner interviewed me when I was a fresh faced 21-year-old straight off the train from Cardiff. I can remember rattling the teacup with nerves during the interview – although he’s never mentioned it! I think what is striking about Stevens & Bolton is that I felt equally valued and ‘seen’ when I was a trainee as I do now as a Partner. The culture here is completely unique, and hugely motivating.  


  1. What has been the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 


This would have to be from one of our corporate tax Partners (who’s as smart as a whip!), who often says, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” It’s a reminder that we’re all in it together, and to celebrate the big and little wins of your colleagues. Chapter 8 of Caitlin Moran’s “More than a Woman”, is also a must read and really struck a chord with me as a working mum.  


  1. What has been the key positive or negative impact of change in your area of the market? 


A key change with a negative impact was the introduction of the Employment Tribunals fees system in 2013. The change meant that Claimants had to pay a fee to issue a Tribunal claim and also pay a separate Hearing Fee. This was a bleak spell for employees seeking access to justice, many of whom who found the fees unaffordable because they were out of work. They were a regressive step in terms of ‘equality of arms’ between employer and employee and led to a sharp decline in Employment Tribunal litigation. Fees were abolished in 2017 and if they were to return in the future, I hope that lessons have been learnt so that they do not act as a barrier to justice.  


  1. If you were not in your current position, what would you like to be doing? 


I fancy myself on the stand-up comedy circuit but, I have no idea how that would fly! I’ve got masses of material, mainly involving Surrey village life, and my suboptimal parenting attempts. I could see a routine come together which is a bit Motherland meets the Vicar of Dibley.  


  1. What three items would you put on display in a museum of your life and why? 


First, I’d include a Guildford Lido Season Ticket, which has a 50-metre outdoor pool and is an oasis of calm just 10 minutes from the office. I can often be found there, racing my septuagenarian father most summers – he normally wins, but I’m catching up…2023 will be my year! I’d also have to include the second hand BabyBjorn carrier I carried my two boys around in when they were little, and once power washed the patio wearing – multi-tasking has always been a strength. Finally, I couldn’t forget the gold sequinned jumpsuit I wore to our Stevens & Bolton Partners conference in 2021. It’s safe to say that Stevens & Bolton is a place where you can bring your ‘whole self to work, and the jumpsuit is a happy reminder of that.   


  1. What three guests would you invite to a dinner party?            


Miriam Margolyes, for obvious reasons including her unvarnished honesty and wit. The inspiring lawyer, Miriam González Durántez, who I have always admired from afar, particularly for her work in founding “Inspiring Girls” – a campaign to connect British girls with female role models in the UK. I feel the pressure for a hat trick of Miriams but third would have to be Paul Heaton of The Housemartins and Beautiful South, for his dry sense of humour and life story plus, I’d persuade him to sing “Caravan of Love” over an espresso at the end of the night.  

Hannah Ford, Partner, Stevens & Bolton