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Fellowship Recognizes Workers’ Rights Commitment of 2L Jonathan Tolentino

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Jonathan Tolentino, a member of the Class of 2015 at Rutgers School of Law–Newark, has been awarded a 10-week summer fellowship by the Peggy Browning Fund.

The selection process is highly competitive, with hundreds of students from more than 140 law schools applying for about 70 public interest labor law fellowships nationwide. Those selected as Peggy Browning Fellows are distinguished students who have not only excelled in law school, but also have demonstrated their commitment to workers’ rights through educational, work, volunteer, and personal experiences.

Tolentino will spend his fellowship working at Kennedy, Jennik & Murray P.C. The New York firm represents unions and employee benefit funds exclusively. As a Peggy Browning Fellow, Tolentino will be assigned work in all areas of the firm’s practice, which includes extensive litigation before federal and state courts, the NLRB, and labor arbitration proceedings.

An honors graduate of Rutgers University, Tolentino was driven to law school and labor law by the hardships experienced years ago by his immigrant family within the garment and manufacturing industries. Prior to starting at Rutgers–Newark Law, he worked for a year as a legal assistant at Plata Ferrer & Gutierrez LLC and returned to the firm for the summer after his 1L year. At the firm Tolentino gained invaluable experience with the practice of law, including his first exposure to employment law. “My experience at Plata Ferrer & Gutierrez really gave me an insight into both the litigation and transactional aspects of civil practice,” he says.

In addition to working at the firm, Tolentino also served as a judicial intern for Hon. Maureen B. Mantineo, New Jersey Superior Court, Hudson County Vicinage. “I had the opportunity last summer with Judge Mantineo to work on a number of employment discrimination claims as well as other aspects of civil litigation within a judicial perspective.” This semester he is interning at the National Labor Relations Board’s Region 22 office in Newark, where he helps staff attorneys evaluate unfair labor practice claims throughout northern New Jersey.

At the law school, Tolentino is an associate editor of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal, secretary of the Association of Latin American Law Students, vice president of internal affairs of the Labor and Employment Law Society, and co-chair of the school’s chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Inspired by his family’s past challenges and parents who are active members of healthcare unions, Tolentino is looking forward to a summer learning to fight for the rights of workers. “Such an opportunity can give me the tools to ensure that the sacrifices of my family were not in vain,” he says. 

The Peggy Browning Fund is a not for-profit organization established in memory of Margaret A. Browning, a prominent union-side attorney who was a member of the National Labor Relations Board from 1994 until 1997.