Law students take advantage of great restaurants, easy commutes to school and a great
Sierra Kresin ’17 grew up in Topeka, Kansas, attending Washburn University and aspiring
to practice law in a large city. She submitted law school applications in Kansas and
to schools on both coasts. But when she walked into Seton Hall Law, she knew she had
found her destination. “I just felt at home,” she recalled. “Everyone was so nice.”
Sergio Suarez ’16 grew up in Newark’s North Ward and currently resides in the Historic
Forest Hill section of the city. He attended Seton Hall University and, in his sophomore
year, found his passion for law. “Once I got interested in law school and I realized
that Seton Hall Law was just down the street from where I grew up, it was pretty much
a match made in heaven,” he said. “There was no debate about where I was going to
go to law school. It was just a matter of whether I was going to get in.”
Kresin and Suarez consider Seton Hall Law their home away from home, and they enjoy
working and living in Newark. “Newark is clearly up and coming, with so many new stores,
restaurants and bars opening, especially around the new Prudential building, which
is just a few blocks away,” said Kresin.
"When I was going to move here, people at home were worried about my living in Newark
and whether I would be safe. Newark is a large city so you have to take the same precautions
that you would take in any city. But I feel entirely safe in my neighborhood, especially
around the law school."
Sierra Kresin ’17
Newark offers a variety of lifestyle choices, reflected in the different neighborhoods
where Kresin and Suarez choose to call home. Both students found roommates through
Seton Hall Law’s Roommate Search utility, available to new admitted students and current
students seeking to share apartments or houses in the surrounding region.
Kresin and a classmate share a two-bedroom apartment in the grand Art Deco high-rise
known by its address: “Eleven80,” located in the heart of the Downtown area one block
from the Law School. Eleven80 is a popular choice for Seton Hall Law students who
live in Newark. “Obviously, the commute is great – it’s just a three-minute walk to
class,” Kresin said. She also appreciates the building’s amenities, which include
a bowling alley in the basement and a free shuttle that takes residents to the new
ShopRite. “Eleven80 also has a gym,” she said, “which is convenient – when I have
time to get there!”
This is the first time, since she was 15, that Kresin has not had a car. “Back home,
it’s a car culture – we start driving in ninth grade and you have to own a car because
everything is so spread out,” she said. “Here, I live five minutes from the train
station so it would be an easy commute if I find a job in the surrounding area. And
if I decide to do a clerkship with a judge, the courthouses are a 10-minute walk from
Also within walking distance is Kresin’s favorite hangout, McGovern’s, where students
congregate for Tuesday Trivia Night. On a recent walk to the tavern, Kresin pointed
out the construction site that will soon be a Whole Foods Market, the Newark Museum
– New Jersey’s largest collection of art – and her classmate’s townhouse apartment,
where a viewing of “The Bachelor” is a weekly ritual. Kresin also enjoys Bello’s,
a favorite restaurant, for a game of pool and “the best penne vodka I’ve ever had.”
Over weekends, Kresin and her classmates might head to Hoboken or Jersey City, which
offer an active night life for students and young professionals alike. And, “we make
a point of going to New York City especially for birthdays,” she said.
Sergio Suarez shares a spacious apartment with four roommates in the Forest Hill section,
two miles outside the Downtown area, near his family and the home where he grew up.
Forest Hill crowns Newark’s North Ward, bustling with Dominican and Cuban restaurants
and pubs two blocks from Branch Brook Park, which is famous for its cherry blossom
trees. The streets are wide, with the spires of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred
Heart visible above the roof lines.
Though bus lines runs directly Downtown, Suarez typically drives to the Law School.
“I was in ROTC during undergrad and now I serve in the Army National Guard,” he said.
“With my service and my work in the Center for Social Justice clinic, I can be in
two or three different places in a single day. It’s just easier to have a car.”
Suarez also spends time in the Ironbound, a section of Newark two blocks from the
Law School that is home to traditional and contemporary Portuguese and Spanish restaurants,
as well as chic new shops. “It’s a really interesting combination of bakeries and
bodegas, and modern stores that look like they belong in Soho,” he said. Seton Hall
Law students also find apartments in the Ironbound and appreciate the short walk to
the Law School.
While Kresin and Suarez may live in different parts of the city, they converge with
their classmates at the Seton Hall men’s basketball games played at the Prudential
Center, a five-minute walk from the Law School. “Seton Hall offers a few dozen tickets
to law students for every Pirates home game. I can’t remember the last time I missed
one,” Suarez said. Kresin concurs: “It’s been a fantastic season for the Pirates.
I grew up near the University of Kansas, a big NCAA school, so it’s nice to have another
great basketball team nearby.”
Both Kresin and Suarez believe living in Newark will serve them well in legal practice.
“My goal is to work for a firm in New York or New Jersey,” Kresin said, “and with
the city so close by, it’s easy to network or head in for interviews.”
For Suarez, legal practice will enable him to give back to the city where he grew
up. “I knew that if I were to stay in Newark I could probably make a big difference
here,” he said. “I have already seen a great deal of change in Newark since I grew
up. Crime is down, and while the Downtown area was always safe, my neighborhood is
safer than ever, too. But we still need to make progress.
“My mother was a community organizer and activist, and from her, I've learned the
power of ideas and the power of working to make those ideas happen,” he said. “I know
how Newark functions. I know what works, what doesn't work. I’ll use that knowledge,
coupled with a legal education, to create change in this city.”