August 22, 2022
Seton Hall Law School extends its sincere gratitude to The Honorable Esther Salas, United States District Judge for the District of New Jersey for addressing incoming 1L students at Orientation during a conversation with the Dean. Judge Salas spoke candidly about her journey to and through law school, her experience as a federal public defender and how she realized she wanted to become a federal judge.
Having been “the first” – whether as a woman or Latina - multiple times in her career, Judge Salas explained the weight of that situation and how our 1Ls’ behavior will help advance diversity in the profession. She advised that if you are first in the door - leave it open. Remember that many hope to follow in your footsteps so take seriously your opportunity and conduct yourself in a manner that will not result in a closed door.
She is an excellent example of perseverance and commitment to the legal profession. Today she is an unremitting and passionate advocate for federal legislation that would protect judges’ privacy. Through tragedy, she remains motivated by her son. Her drive now is less about her personal outcome, and more about the communal purpose. She remains committed to the betterment of all and undoubtedly inspired our 1Ls to give back to the community while working toward their own personal achievement.
"Thank you, Judge Salas, for sharing your life experiences with our students. It is an event they will not soon forget."
Judge Salas became the first Latina on the District Court of New Jersey in 2011. Prior to this, she was appointed a federal magistrate judge in 2006 after serving as an Assistant Public Defender.