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Not a Stepping Stone

Bahar Alaeddini, Partner, Harris Hagen

Not a Stepping Stone

Bahar Alaeddini is a partner at the top-ranked London-based gambling law firm Harris Hagan. She is a subject expert in all aspects of online and land-based gambling law and is ranked and recognized in the U.K. and global legal directories.

Alaeddini has advised many of the world’s largest land-based and online gambling businesses (B2Cs and B2Bs) as well as startups, governments and trade associations. In addition, she frequently advises leading law firms, private equity firms and hedge funds to provide specialist licensing and regulatory expertise in respect to mergers and acquisitions.

Alaeddini’s credo is solid: Hard work is key.

“Talent alone only gets you so far,” she says. “When first starting out, it really boiled down to my work ethic that gave me my edge. For me this meant being reliable, resourceful, tenacious, and unrelenting.”

She does acknowledge that being in the right place at the right time plays a part; however, you’ve got to have the right frame of mind to spot opportunities, be prepared to make sacrifices of your time and ultimately back yourself to seize the chances when they arise. “Make your self-development a priority and learn fast,” she recommends. “Don’t wait for others to educate you.”

Alaeddini learned early on to build strong and meaningful relationships with clients, as well as colleagues. Of utmost importance to her was understanding her clients’ business needs as well as what they do, and helping find solutions to their problems.

Alaeddini studied Law at King’s College London and qualified in 2008, starting her legal career working on a public inquiry investigating government corruption in the Turks & Caicos Islands, and prosecuting fitness-to-practice cases for a health care regulator. In 2012 she joined Harris Hagan, working closely with two of the most prominent gambling lawyers, John Hagan and Julian Harris, and by 2016 she was elevated to partner, at age 31.

Deciding to cultivate a career at Harris Hagan was pivotal for Alaeddini. When she joined as a young lawyer in her late 20s, she had initially only considered the firm as a “stepping stone,” but swiftly began to understand the prestigious position the firm held in the gambling industry globally, and that she was able to play a significant role in its future.

She did all she could to learn from the best of the industry, and 12 years later couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. “The firm has a great culture, and has recognized my ambition and afforded me the opportunity to progress,” she states.

“I am very proud to be a partner and member of the team at Harris Hagan,” Alaeddini continues. “We are excellent at what we do, ahead of the curve and have a great reputation. As I edge closer to 40, and as the mother of a toddler, I have come to realize that when you find a place and a field you love working in, then work begins to feel more like a passion than something you do simply to pay the bills. I know this sounds incredibly cliched, but when you work hard or long hours, you have to love what you do; otherwise it may wear you down quickly.”

Alaeddini also serves as general counsel for the International Association of Gaming Advisors, sits on the Vixio Gambling Compliance’s Global Advisory Board, and acts as the general editor for three global gambling publications on gambling law. Alaeddini was also ranked as one of the top 10 Most Influential Women of 2023 by iGaming Business.

When asked about what being selected as one of the ELG 40 Under 40 meant to her, Alaeddini says she feels honored and flattered to be recognized.

“It is great to know our work is appreciated and has impact,” she says, “and the sparkle of an award certainly never dulls! I think it’s also great for those starting out to see that it’s not only veterans of the industry that gain recognition—young people can make an impact and be recognized too.”

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