Spotlight | Alumni Profile
“There are lots of different ways that you can apply your law degree. Staying on the business side is not necessarily one that comes to mind, but I think that it’s helpful to bring that type of perspective.”

Fintech Flightpath

Anna Ashurov ’12

In some ways, Anna Ashurov ’12 was a nontraditional law student. When she enrolled in Brooklyn Law School’s evening program, she already had a successful career in finance with no plans to leave it behind after obtaining her J.D. She was also a new mother, with a 1-year-old daughter who was only her first: A second child was born during winter break of her third year.

But in many ways, Ashurov was the quintessential Brooklyn Law School student. Ambitious, intellectually curious, and hardworking, she jumped right into the Law School community. She was the 1L evening delegate to the Student Bar Association, an associate editor on the Brooklyn Journal of International Law, and a self-described “sponge,” taking in all the experiences and knowledge she could.

Today, she continues to defy labels, shape her own path, and enthusiastically take on new challenges.

Currently, Ashurov is the global head of commercial operations and client contracting for Aladdin, the investment management fintech (financial technology) platform of BlackRock. The role combines her interests in technology and client relations, as she spends her days interacting with the asset managers, financial institutions, and others who use Aladdin as well as helping to develop and maintain the technology to operate the platform. She also negotiates and structures contracts and commercial arrangements.

In addition, Ashurov leads the nonprofit Diversity in Blockchain, which she founded in 2016 with four other women to address the disparities they saw in who had access to crypto and blockchain technologies. The organization seeks to promote diversity in both the individuals who make up the industry and users of blockchain and other financial technologies. While offering traditional networking events for technology professionals, Diversity in Blockchain also provides educational programs, such as a recent workshop that taught people how to set up digital wallets.

Ashurov notes that as blockchain and related technologies have entered the mainstream, more diverse individuals have gotten involved in various business roles and as consumers. Even so, she hopes to continue creating even broader opportunities in fintech.

Ashurov came to the U.S. from Russia as a refugee when she was a teenager, with her parents and two younger sisters. When she was only 15, she enrolled at Baruch College and eventually earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

During the 2008 financial crisis, she was working in the restructuring group at Barclays Investment Bank and became enamored with working on complex deals during a high-stakes period.

“I was fascinated by the work that restructuring attorneys were doing at the time. I saw myself being successful and gaining an additional skill set and being able to negotiate and structure deals with the best outcomes for both clients and the firm,” Ashurov recalled. “I decided at the time that I would love to get that muscle by going to law school.”

Paradoxically, although Ashurov took plenty of corporate and bankruptcy classes at Brooklyn Law, her favorite classes were the ones that had nothing to do with her job, such as criminal law, civil procedure, and torts, topics that entailed the use of logical reasoning and critical thinking.

After law school, Ashurov took a position at Goldman Sachs, where she continued to work on structuring transactions. In 2019, she transitioned to commercial strategy with Anheuser-Busch InBev. She enjoyed learning about operations and being on the consumer side of the business, but she missed the financial industry. Her role today with BlackRock combines her understanding of tech transactions and operations and her interest in the consumer experience.

Although Ashurov has never held the job title of counsel, her ability to understand both the business and the legal sides helps her partner with the legal team and clients. “My law degree is highly valuable, because I can have a conversation with clients about rights and remedies, roles and obligations and responsibilities, and the technology and cybersecurity risk and the information security provisions and data sharing and intellectual property rights,” she noted. “I can have a very informed conversation with our clients on all of these essential aspects of any technology contract.”

Ashurov has been active in the Brooklyn Law School alumni community. She served on the Recent Graduate Board of Trustees and Women’s Leadership Circle. She encourages current students to be active in the Law School, and to take advantage of what the school offers.

“You’re paying for your education; you’re out there to be a sponge. Take in as much as you can, because it helps to shape your career or helps to shape who you are. You should be absorbing all of it,” Ashurov said.

She is also eager to tell students and young alumni about her own somewhat unconventional direction.

“My perspective is different, and can be helpful, especially to those alumni who are not necessarily sure of what they want to do,” she said. “There are lots of different ways that you can apply your law degree. Staying on the business side is not necessarily one that comes to mind, and technically, never practicing law also does not come to mind for someone who decides to go to law school, but I think that it’s helpful to bring that type of perspective to students and alumni in their career exploration stage.”

—Suzi Morales