The Seton Hall University School of Law (Seton Hall Law) opened its door in the mid 1950’s and quickly became a leading law school in the New Jersey/Tri-state area. Although the university proper is located in East Orange, New Jersey, the law school has been housed in a 22 story building in downtown Newark since 1991. Its location puts the law school minutes away from the legal epicenter of New York City in one its most important satellite cities. In recent years, Seton Hall Law has had tremendous success placing its graduates in judicial clerkships and also boasts some of the best career placement statistics in the country. Seton Hall also provides a unique weekend law program whose graduates include Frank Lucas, who was portrayed by Russel Crowe in the movie American Gangster.
In their first semester at Seton Hall Law, full-time students take only four classes: contract, civil procedure, torts, and an introduction to the skills of lawyering. The first three courses are half of the substantive courses that make up the traditional first-year curriculum. The course in contracts is a five-credit course. In their second semester, students take two additional substantive courses: criminal law and property. Students also take the second semester of both civil procedure and the skill-based course on lawyering. Students also take their ABA required course in professional responsibility.
In their second or third year, students at Seton Hall Law are required to take four additional courses: business associations, constitutional law (also a five credit course), evidence, and financial concepts for lawyers. These additional courses complete the required curriculum in terms of courses. Students are free to choose the rest of their curriculum but must satisfy the requirement for experiential learning and an upper-level writing assignment. Students may pursue one of Seton Hall Law’s three concentrations which provide a suite of courses and practical work to ensure that students are practice-ready in a certain field of law. The concentrations are health law, compliance, and law and technology.
Seton Hall Law also offers a part-time, weekend Juris Doctor program. The part-time program requires all the same courses but is taught on alternating weekends. Students take fewer classes each semester and are allowed up to four years to complete their degree programs.
For students who wish to further pursue the practice of financial compliance law, Seton Hall offers a one year Master of Laws (LL.M) degree that prepares students to practice in the growing field of financial compliance. LL.M students complete 24 hours of academic coursework as well as skill-based clinical training to prepare them for the future careers.
Seton Hall Law recognizes that attending a residential degree program is simply not feasible for many potential students. In response to this, the law school has created the Division of Online learning which offers a Master of Science in Jurisprudence Degree (M.J.S.) degree to students who desire a deep understanding of the law but cannot attend a residential program.
Seton Hall Law also offers one of the most complete certification programs in the country. Certifications are conferred after short, intensive academic programs that usually last 4-5 days. Upon completion, students receive a certificate that indicates their mastery of a narrow field of law. Certifications are centered around healthcare and compliance both in the United States and abroad.
Career and Career Placement
Seton Hall Law is a leader in career placement. Almost 99% of the most recent graduating classes were employed within 10 months of graduation. Moreover, 96% of those employed were in careers that required either a law license or a Juris Doctor degree. Most impressively, Seton Hall is one of the few law schools in the country where law firm work was not the most common career path. In fact, over 58% of students pursued judicial clerkships in the state and local courts. This is the highest rate of clerkships in the country. More than half that amount chose law firms to start their careers with large firms being the most common choice. New Jersey and New York accounted for almost 100% of students choice of residence after graduation.
At Seton Hall Law, every students is paired with a professional career counselor who works with the student throughout their career search. Counselors offers a range of services from mock interviews, cover letter and resume preparation, and one-on-one counseling. The approach at Seton Hall Law is notably customized, recognizing the diverse student body who have different career goals and aspirations. The Career Services office also provides students with a broad range of networking, social, and career events throughout the year. The end result are some of the best career placement statistics in the country.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Seton Hall Law’s clinical programs are rooted in social justice. These programs not only serve the most vulnerable persons in the Newark community, but they also allow students to gain valuable hands-on training while also learning how the legal practice can be a force for change. The law school’s Center for Social Justice houses seven different clinics that touch on a range of practice areas. Students spend a semester (or more) working in the clinic serving real clients in real legal situations. All student-attorney work is overseen by faculty supervisors.
Seton Hall law also offers a robust externship program which allows students to work in a law office in the area. Typical externships include work in a judicial office, the Internal Revenue Service, or state health agencies. By spending a semester in practice, students not only gain valuable practical skills but also begin to shape their career choices.
As previously noted, Seton Hall Law is one of the few law schools in the country with a dedicated office for online learning. While their Juris Doctor degree–full or part-time–requires residential coursework, the law school continues to explore new ways to offer a legal education online.
Just eight miles from Manhattan, Seton Hall Law school offers students the opportunity to be part of one of the largest legal communities in the world. On campus, diversity is celebrated as the law school has several initiatives to recruit and celebrate its diverse student body. The plethora of student-run organizations reflect this commitment. The campus resides in a modern high-rise building in downtown Newark overlooking the Passaic River.
Around campus, students are part of greater New York City metropolitan area. This offers students a range of housing options at every budget. The areas robust public transportation options allows students to commute easily from the more affordable suburbs or live in the many apartments in the heart of the city.