Braeden Anderson is a lawyer, author and professor. He is currently an associate attorney in New York City at Sidley Austin, LLP within its Securities Enforcement and Regulatory group. Sidley Austin, LLP is known for having received the 2019 Chambers USA Award for Financial Services Regulation and being named “Law Firm of the Year” for Securities Regulation in 2021 and 2020 by U.S. News – Best Lawyers.
He focuses his practice on regulatory enforcement measures and government investigations regarding securities. Braeden regularly assists with the representation of financial institutions, investment advisers, public companies, and senior officers in connection with investigations (as well as defense of investigations) generally initiated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the New York State Attorney General (NYAG), other Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs), and various other federal and state financial regulators. Prior to joining Sidley, Braeden worked at FINRA in their New York office as an enforcement extern. While at FINRA, Braeden assisted in the legal investigations of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), crowdfunded projects, unregistered securities offerings, and other tokenized securities. He also participated in FINRA on-the-record interviews (OTRs) and performed legal analysis concerning suitability, excessive trading, fraud, inadequate supervision, and various other areas of enforcement regarding broker-dealers, financial advisors, and other registered representatives.
In addition to his legal efforts, Braeden also serves as an adjunct professor of business law at Monroe College in the Bronx, New York, and is the Chairman of the Corporate Law Section of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA).
Braeden’s journey from high school graduate to Law School graduate was one of perseverance and near-tragedy. Braeden started college at Fresno State, having received a basketball scholarship. In 2013, Braeden broke his neck in a car accident and suffered a displacement of the C-5 through C-6 vertebrae, with a 0.6 percent chance of being discharged from the hospital. Braeden fought the odds and after 28 days in Stanford Medical, 4 major operations, and 9 months of rehabilitation, he was on the road to recovery. At this point, Braeden shifted his focus toward academics and decided to become a corporate lawyer, though he didn’t hang up his basketball jersey yet. In 2015, Braeden started attending Seton Hall University School of Law and played basketball for the Seton Hall Pirates where he won the Big East Conference Championship while attending law school.
Outside of work, Braeden is a loving and devoted father to two children, his 3-year-old daughter and 8 month old son. He is grateful for the time he has with both of them, specifically the time afforded to them now while he can work from home. He enjoys setting the right example in proper work-life balance, not only for his own children, but for other working parents that may be struggling with the concept.
With many exciting undertakings in his future, like the book he is currently writing and his real estate investments like Air BNB rentals, Braeden Anderson is a busy entrepreneur. He is also an admirable father and valued member of the community that he is working diligently to enrich.
How did you get started in your industry?
I always wanted to be a lawyer. For the longest time I wanted to go to Law School. I saw an opportunity to play basketball while in law school as a way to help pay for it. While I was in Law School, I interned for FINRA. It was through that experience and through writing a journal article about algorithmic trading, and the securities law analysis thereunder, that I fell in love with the securities regulatory practice. I have also been fortunate to become connected with mentors, friends, and supporters who have taught me a lot and helped be obtain some great opportunities in that space. I am grateful for those individuals for the doors they opened to me, especially as I was just starting out.
Do you have any personal entrepreneurial pursuits?
It is very important to have multiple streams of income. In addition to law practice, I serve as an adjunct professor of business law at Monroe College in the Bronx, New York. I also have a real estate investment business that owns and manages short term rental properties on AirBnb. And finally, I am also writing a book which should be published and available in the near future.
How did you work your way up to becoming a lawyer at a large law firm?
Through showing up every day and working hard. I love what I do, but the work is still intricate and challenging, so I still need to be engaged and put my all into it. Now, more than ever, with the COVID-19 related transition to remote work, it is important to remain productive. Your company or firm needs to see that. If you organize your life the right way, and stay disciplined, it is possible to be more productive at home. The time saved from not having to commute to and from work each day is a huge deal. I try to maximize each minute of the day to accomplish my goals.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Starting out, I didn’t have too many moments of doubting my eventual or inevitable success, but I did questioned the plan and process at various moments. Part of what makes a person good at achieving goals is being stubborn. For me personally, once I have that goal in mind, I don’t want to make any changes to the plan until I have achieved the goal. I think at times, even when we know a goal we have set is challenging, we have an expectation about how difficult or easy the journey to the goal will be So when the journey turns out to be more difficult than expected, it can be sometimes we get taken by surprise. This can cause some doubt to creep in for some people. . But in those moments, there should never be a question of quitting. It is a matter of re-evaluating, adjusting, or adapting. You may need to pivot, or change course slightly. Or, maybe it is a matter of pushing ahead through, around, over, or under the obstacle: you have to envision what needs to be done and then do it. All options and variables must be considered according to any given situation, but again, quitting is never an option. Throughout my own journey, I went through tough times and I had to alter my plan on some occasions. But other times, I ignored the noise and doubt, trusted the process and kept going. Having the good judgment and knowing when to adapt or push forward is key. In business, law, and in life.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Moving out of New York City. I love the city, and I am someone that wanted to live as close as possible to work. I love seeing faces around the office and having casual conversation with my colleagues. Getting to know people in passing in the elevator, etc. I really valued those one-on-one, brief, and casual conversations. The pandemic forced some difficult decisions. When we all adapted to remote work, I had to decide if the new situation presented an opportunity for a new lifestyle further away, or if I should wait it out in the city, even though rent was higher. Being in the city means I’m closer to the office, to restaurants where I can have dinner and dinners and drinks with clients and be near the action, and near the school I teach at. Though with things closing down and not spending time at the office, those things were less of a priority, so you start thinking more about space. In New York City, there aren’t many homes that are spacious for a reasonable amount of money. If I was going to be spending most of my time at home, it was becoming clearer that I would need a comfortable working environment that had a convenient centralized location, and space for my kids. I saw an opportunity, and I took it. Although others told me I was gambling a bit, because at that point, we didn’t know how long the pandemic was going to last. But I did the research, and I knew I had to adapt. There is an opportunity cost to waiting, and it soon became a very popular decision to move out of the city. Not to mention, the correct decision for me and my family; so I am glad I made the move when I did.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I believe, ultimately, we can give ourselves the best shot at success by making sure we maximize each opportunity we get. I try to make the most of each opportunity. That does not sound all that special, but I believe it is the only special thing I do remarkably well. I have done that for a long time. The result is that you get more and more valuable opportunities thrown your way. I have had very supportive people, mentors, friends to show me the way to advocate for myself and take advantage of every chance I get. I try to pay that forward to my mentees and students now as well as an act of karma and positivity.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
I feel, in general, incredibly grateful. The quality of the law firm I work at is beyond what I ever anticipated for myself. When I reflect on how awesome it is that I have this role, and I am practicing the area of law I love and serving the clients we do. It is an honor; I can’t help but be grateful. Doing something that is exciting and interesting. Not all lawyers, businesspeople, or professionals can say that they love what they do, and I try to never take that for granted.
What business books have inspired you?
Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill.
What advice would you give to your younger self, and now that you have children, to them?
Keep going, ignore any hate or doubt. Unless the opinion is pragmatic, objective, and rooted in fact, don’t listen to it, it’s just noise. Negative opinions from others can be devastating, especially to young and impressionable minds. I wish I had learned these things sooner and I want my children to learn them as soon as they understand them. I remember growing up in Canada, when I shared the ideas of what I wanted to do, (NCAA, Lawyer) I was met with laughter. I know that friend groups tend to do that, they have a natural tendency to ridicule instead of building up. If you buy into the ridicule and pessimism, it could hold you back. But again, those opinions are usually not rooted in fact, so you need to learn how to ignore the noise, ignore the haters, and keep moving forward.