Career Highlights

  • Elected 2009
  • Navy Reservist; deployed to Iraq as Naval intelligence specialist
  • Deputy state director for U.S. Sen. John Kerry
  • Suffolk Law evening program

Setti Warren JD’07

Mayor of Newton, Mass.

Ask Setti Warren why he did not take the bar exams after graduating from law school and he answers with a laugh: “I was deployed to Iraq. Then I came back and ran for mayor. So that interrupted my plans.”

Warren grew up close to the Commonwealth’s Democratic political establishment, thanks to his father’s role as advisor for Gov. Michael Dukakis’s 1988 presidential campaign. Prior to running for mayor, Warren worked in government offices at the state and federal level, serving as a staffer in the Clinton White House and as New England regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He also was deputy state director for U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who served as a groomsman in Warren’s wedding.

“It was clear to me that having legal training could be incredibly valuable in public service,” Warren says. So in 2002, he enrolled in the evening program at Suffolk Law School, simultaneously enlisting in the Naval Reserve. Soon after collecting his JD, Warren was deployed to Iraq for a year as a Naval intelligence specialist, and on his return home plunged into active campaigning for the Newton mayor’s office.

Elected in 2009, he set about restoring the cash-strapped city to fiscal sustainability. His success in turning the city round was rewarded by election to a second term in 2013.

Reflecting on his time at Suffolk Law, he says: “It was a unique experience and great training for what I’m doing right now, and for the future, whatever happens.”