Mentor First

Mentor First

Law Internships for First Generation College and Law Students

Mentor First

Mentor First is a community-based mentorship program for first-generation and foreign students who want to intern for a hands-on law firm experience. Because of their backgrounds, these mentored interns are uniquely motivated and offer diverse skills to our firm. We are mindful that these students may have unique cultural demands that other students may not have. Rheingold Guiffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP is proud of our decades-long history of mentoring students during summer and academic semester internships.

To apply for a Mentor First internship: We are accepting resumes for Summer 2017 and Fall 2017. Intern positions are open to college and graduate school students who live in the New York metropolitan area. Please email your resume to David B. Rheingold at:

Meet Our Interns

Tania Santana

I am currently a rising senior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. I am majoring in Forensic Psychology, which is the combination of both law and psychology. Forensic psychologists practice psychology within the criminal justice system and civil courts.

The Mentor First program is an exciting opportunity for me to get hands-on experience in the legal aspect of my career. While interning at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin, I work with different people and learn different practices of law and what it truly takes to build a case. The direct one-on-one mentoring has exposed me in a meaningful way to direct client contact, research and writing of legal blogs, evidence preservation and providing time-sensitive materials to clients and courts. I especially have the pleasure of working directly with David Rheingold and receive constructive feedback on the blog articles I write. This gives me an opportunity to sharpen my writing and research skills.

Mentor First has exposed me to different sides of the legal world I would have never had the chance to experience. I am truly grateful to have interned at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo, and Plotkin LLP.

Mahendra Francis

Mahendra FrancisThe Mentor First program has given me the opportunity for a hands-on experience in an active litigation firm. As a first-generation college graduate of CUNY – New York City College of Technology, this program has given me a safe and forgiving platform to utilize the legal skills that I had cultivated during the past four years. Since interning at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin in April of 2019, I have had the opportunity to work with all the partners and senior paralegals, engaging in a variety of legal tasks, including but not limited to: client intakes, discovery, trial preparation, data entry, case management, etc.

Mentor First has given me the opportunity to have an active and meaningful role in all the different stages of litigation from start to finish. Subsequently, my understanding of the procedural aspects of law has greatly strengthened. This is not the sort of knowledge that can be easily acquired from sitting in a classroom.

Through the Mentor First program, I’m now more insightful to the daily life of a lawyer. I am encouraged by my experience and the support that I have been met with at the firm to continue down my path to becoming a good and responsible lawyer. This is a great program and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to all prospective students.

Brianna D. Gordon

Brianna D. GordonBrianna D. Gordon Currently a rising senior at Temple University, as a Political Science major, I plan to attend law school after the completion of my undergraduate studies. As a first-generation college graduate and the first in my family to pursue law school, the Mentor First internship has granted me an opportunity to enhance my legal skills and be introduced to different areas of the law. The challenging and assignments paired with the dedicated mentorship of the firm, this experience has provided me with valuable insight and knowledge into a career I have always desired to be a part of. From researching and writing legal topics to speaking with clients and processing intakes, my responsibilities have expanded my skill set and have prepared me for a career in law more than ever before. The genuine support from David Rheingold has empowered me to stay and succeed on this path to becoming an attorney and secure justice for those who have been wronged. Despite the pandemic, I am truly grateful to have been able to experience the knowledge and support of Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo, & Plotkin LLP and empowered to utilize my newfound skills on my JD journey.

Isabella Novello

Isabella Novello I am currently in my second year of undergraduate school at John Jay College of Criminal Justice for pre-law studies. I am majoring in Political Science with a concentration in the court system. The Mentor First program is an exciting and challenging opportunity for me to get hands-on experience in the law field. While interning at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin, I work with different people and learn different practices of law and what it truly takes to build a case. Also, here I am learning the field of law that I may want to pursue after law school. The direct one-on-one mentoring is opening my eyes to more than just code, but a career. While working here, I am exposed in a meaningful way to direct client contact, evidence preservation, preparing legal documents, attending court conferences, evaluating liability for clients, and providing time-sensitive materials to clients and courts. With early exposure to these skills, my career is providing me with a much more expansive immersion into law than classrooms offer.

Joanne Conklin

Joanne Conklin I am currently going into my second year at New York Law School and the first in my family to attend law school. Over the summer, as a rising 2L, I interned at Rheingold Guiffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP. This internship gave me exposure to mass tort litigation in various fields such as medical malpractice, product liability, defective devices, etc. I wrote blogs for the firm’s website pertaining to product liability, defective devices and calculating damages. I also performed various legal tasks such as document review, legal research, drafting pleadings, release cover letters, notice of withdrawals and more. This was an amazing summer experience which helped further my knowledge on the litigation end of the law and advance my writing and research skills, while also gaining experience in a law firm setting. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work alongside such experienced lawyers and great mentors.

Camila Lopez

Camila LopezI am a rising third-year law student at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. RGRP offered me invaluable experience during the two semesters I interned at the firm. I was able to work on a variety of medical device and pharmaceutical product liability cases. As a law clerk, I had the opportunity of drafting pleadings and legal memoranda. This internship solidified my interest in product liability, an area I intend to pursue after graduation from law school.

Mona Chen

Mona ChenI am a rising junior at New York University’s Stern School of Business double majoring in Business, with Finance and Economics concentrations, and History. As the first in my family, including my parents and older siblings, to attend college, I have always been highly driven. However, my internship at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin, LLP has helped me feel a renewed sense of purpose by solidifying my intention to pursue law school and a career in the legal field. The mentorship I have received from David Rheingold and his paralegals has been a great source of strength and inspiration for me. In addition, I appreciate this opportunity to support mass torts litigations that affect the lives of so many people who have suffered from defective medical devices and dangerous drugs. My internship at this firm has truly been an infinitely rewarding experience.

Kelsey Gittler

Kelsey GittlerI am currently a second-year law student at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and first member of my family to attend law school. As a rising 2L, I’ve learned about many aspects of law including legal writing, research, and analysis but I was still intimidated by the field. David, Morris, and the other attorneys at RGRP have given me the opportunity to put my newly developed skills to the test by aiding in Medical Malpractice, Drug/Device, and Food Fraud litigation, all of which have advanced my legal knowledge significantly. This internship has also allowed me to pursue my interest in health law by handling health and medical based litigation on a case-by-case basis. After a summer of interning for RGRP, I’ve already noticed an improvement in my research and writing skills while being challenged to conduct extensive research and write legal memos. Ultimately, this internship has helped me validate the type of law I want to practice- mass tort litigation and I am no longer intimidated but excited to continue my journey. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work with great mentors and hope to return next summer.

Giselle Cornejo

Giselle Cornejo I am currently a Psychology major at Baruch College and am intending to go to law school. As a first generation college, I learned a lot about dedication and determination from my parents, but when I decided to pursue a law career, I lacked knowledge about that field. Mentor First gave me the opportunity to interact with experienced lawyers and learn more about the legal field. Compared to my previous internships, Mentor First is a more hands on, learning experience that has provided me with valuable insight into the legal profession. More importantly, I get to work directly with David Rheingold and receive constructive feedback on the blog articles I write. In addition, I also have the opportunity to hone my writing and research skills as well as work alongside paralegal and lawyers. Mentor First has exposed me to different facets of the legal world I would have never had the chance to experience. I am truly grateful to have interned at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo, and Plotkinn LLP.

Thamanna Hussain

Thamanna HussainI am currently a first-year law student at New York Law School and was the first in my family to graduate from college. As a freshman college student, I interned at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP, which was my first exposure to working in a legal setting. I wrote blogs for the firm’s website ranging from topics such as product liability, medical malpractice, verdicts and settlements. David always gave me feedback and challenging assignments, which enabled me to strengthen my communication, research, and writing skills. In the office, I assisted the paralegals, created presentations, reviewed case files, and contacted clients. This was the most formative experience of my college career, which set me up for success in other areas in the legal field. Rheingold’s internship program is an excellent way of getting hands-on experience, and meeting leading mentors and professionals who can guide prospective attorneys and their interests.

Edwin Kim

Edwin Kim I am currently a second year student at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and the first member of my family to attend Law School. I chose the Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP Mentor First position to get substantive experience in litigation, an area of practice I eventually would like to practice in. David Rheingold and the staff at RGRP have taken active efforts to ensure I receive meaningful legal training. Specifically, David aimed to give constructive feedback on all the assignments I have completed. The mentor first program at RGRP is great for minorities, as it provides us with opportunities that are generally not available, due to ethnic barriers and lack of connections. However, David has openly welcomed me to his world. This has included legal conferences where I met students and lawyers with diverse backgrounds.

Andre Ambrose

Andre AmbroseDuring the summer of 2016, I was fortunate enough to intern at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin. Being the first in my family to attend law school, I had no one to turn to for advice on the steps that I should take as I begin my legal career. The lawyers at the firm were there for me whenever I had questions or whenever I needed help understanding a case or a legal concept, and they also gave me some good advice that will help me going forward. Their Mentor First program was exactly what I needed at this point in my career and I am glad that I was able to be a participant. I had direct contact with a firm’s founding partner, David Rheingold, as well as associates like Morris Dweck, both of whom gave me invaluable insight on the practice of law. I have friends and classmates from other cultural backgrounds that are lucky enough to have a parent or another family member who has experience in the legal field and are able to lend a helping hand or provide guidance when needed. I felt that I was at a disadvantage because of this and I was in need of a mentor. With Mentor First, I had someone who could help guide me in the right direction and help to give me a better understanding of what I will be facing as I embark on this journey.

Ashley G. Roberts

Ashley G. Roberts I am a first generation college student at New York University obtaining a pre-law major. I'm of Puerto Rican heritage and had no experience living in a giant city, let alone working in a professional office. The Rheingold philosophy of "mentoring" as opposed to simple "interning" offered a multifaceted approach. I quickly acclimated to my new world with help from the lawyers at the office. In return, I feel a deeper involvement with the firm's clients, many of whom are Spanish-speaking and just as intimidated of the legal world as I once was. I've been working with RGRP for well over a year now, and my responsibilities have steadily grown. To this day, I haven't found a firm that cares about it me as much as they do, and it constantly motivates me to become a lawyer.

Isabella Ganpat

Isabella GanpatI am a first-year law student at The George Washington University Law School. I am of Latino descent and the first woman in my family to graduate from college and pursue an advanced degree. Prior to entering law school, I sought opportunities to gain exposure to the legal field. Interning at Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP (RGRP) was an invaluable experience early in my career. I worked closely with supervising attorneys and contributed in a hands-on manner. I also worked closely with clients, managed litigation files, and assisted in the preparation of legal documents. In addition to the tremendous work exposure, David Rheingold and the Partners have an open-door policy, which allows them to establish close working relationships with the staff and to provide continuous guidance and mentorship. My experience at RGRP strongly influenced my decision to pursue law school and I am certain the skills I developed while working there have contributed to my ongoing success. My time at RGRP was more than a typical internship; RGRP treated their staff and interns as part of their family and you always felt you were contributing to a greater cause. The relationships I developed at RGRP have withstood the test of time and distance.

Queenie Cheng

Queenie Cheng I am currently a Legal Studies student at St. John's University. Previously, I was a Physician Assistant major at my educational institution. However, I have come to realize my true passion in law. I come from a Chinese cultural background and was raised by parents who were not financially capable of furthering their education at their respective times. Due to the fact that they did not receive a higher education themselves, it was difficult for them to provide me with the educational guidance into my college life and career path. As a first generation college student, I believe that it is important for me to become the change in my family and pursue a higher education. My future is not determined by my family's educational and financial situation. My life is in my own hands and I am given a world of opportunities without bounds. I am truly thankful to be given the opportunity to obtain invaluable experience early on in my career as a legal intern at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin, LLP. As I worked closely with the attorneys, paralegals and interns, I was able to receive a significant amount of legal training. Mr. David Rheingold took me under his wing and introduced me to the world of legal professions. What I love about the Mentor First Internship is that it widened my range of connections and enabled me to meet people of different backgrounds. Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin, LLP, became my second home where I could develop as a professional alongside others who share legal interests.

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  • Over 2 Billion Recovered

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    We are leaders and educators in legal issues involving personal injury, medical malpractice, and product liability.

  • 50+ Years of Experience

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