When Shujah Awan ’08 was at the New Jersey Institute of Technology studying computer science and software engineering, a course in patent law fired his interest in the field and set him on an unexpected path to law school.

“After that class, I wanted to learn more about the law,” he says.

Awan was attracted to Brooklyn Law School’s strong alumni network and its location in the bustling borough that was taking on a new global prominence. He expected to study patent law, but then his legal career plans took another detour.

After his second year, he was hired by Elizabeth Rosenberg ’01 as a summer associate at Whatley Kallas, LLP, which focuses on securities, healthcare, and general commercial litigation.

“I could not have asked for a better experience,” he says. “It showed me the thrill of being in a courtroom.”

Awan joined Whatley Kallas after graduation; there, he practiced high-stakes commercial litigation, primarily in federal court. Eight years later, he joined a Manhattan real estate firm where he specialized in real estate litigation, representing developers and landlords. By 2016, he was ready to go in-house: He became counsel for technology-focused hedge fund Nexlend Capital Partners and the general counsel of 6th Avenue Capital, its affiliate alternative funding company. The job put Awan at the forefront of a quickly growing movement in financial technology (fintech) known as marketplace lending, which allows financial institutions to invest in various financial products (such as loans).

“It was a great opportunity to use my technology and securities background, and to work on corporate matters, including preparing transactional agreements, as well as some litigation,” he says.

Awan quickly proved himself to be an asset in the burgeoning industry. In 2016, he was named as a New York Metro Rising Star by Super Lawyers magazine. In 2017, he was named associate general counsel at Biz2Credit, a leading online marketplace for small business funding, which has arranged more than $2 billion in funding for thousands of companies throughout the United States. Today, he is involved with all aspects of the company including handling regulatory matters, managing in-house and outside counsel, and even litigating matters in court when possible.

Outside of the office, Awan is an active member of the Alternative Finance Bar Association, where he serves as a journal co-editor.

Awan credits his success to the Law School’s strong experiential learning focus—in particular, his clinic placement with then Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Capers (later promoted to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York from 2016 to 2017). Today, Awan is an active member of the Law School’s robust alumni network, and he recently hired Nicole Klingler ’16 to work on his team at Biz2Credit.

“I was once hired by an alumnus, and it was a real pleasure to now hire an alumna myself,” says Awan. “In addition to being a great academic environment, Brooklyn Law School gives students practical skills. They learn how to think outside the box and problem solve. And that gives them an edge in the marketplace.”

— Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips