Jeffrey Key ‘07
In 2010, Jeffrey Key joined the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project (NJ LEEP) at Seton Hall Law School as a law-related education coordinator, responsible for assisting with the Summer Law Institute and College-Bound programs in Newark, Trenton and Camden.
The reward, as he sees it, is being able to empower students and give them the information they need, as many urban minority students know the direction they want to go, but do not know how to get there. “You have to start preparing early and develop good academic personal habits. We try and get students to recognize the importance of their overall studies,” he said.
Key notes that the job can be challenging. “You don’t always see immediate results. You need to introduce the students to a culture where excuses are not permitted and excellence is expected. It might be a difficult process, but in the end, the result is definitely going to be worth it,” he said.
Key had been interested in teaching before choosing to attend law school and, after graduating, taught with the Street Law Clinic. Later, he worked with Middle School students in Newark for two years as part of a fellowship with Citizen Schools. In 2009, Key volunteered with NJ LEEP’s Summer Law Institute. Soon after, he joined the staff, returning to Seton Hall Law School.
A Princeton University graduate, Key chose Seton Hall Law after attending a reception for potential scholarship recipients. There, he had the chance to meet his future fellow students and made his decision to attend. “They were genuinely excited and they enjoyed the law school. That made a big impact on me,” he said. “You don’t get a sense of the community until you get here.”
At Princeton, Key originally studied engineering before switching to political science. “I’d like to think that the engineering background helped because it is very rigorous and logical. The political science gave me a very good background in working with people who have different views than your own,” he said.
In July 2010 he assisted in the launch of a Camden chapter of the Summer Law Institute, and in building a partnership with Trenton Central High School. “I’ve really enjoyed working with the students so far and expanding that is something I’m very much looking forward to,” he added.