The unpaid economy - internships are on the rise

August 31, 2011 Interesting article here about the growth of unpaid internships in the legal industry. Young lawyers interested in working in publicly funded ares of law have increasingly needed to work for free before being offered a full time position. And now, with the persistence of a difficult economy, unpaid internships are becoming more common in the private sector too.

The article addresses the question of whether such employment arrangements are lawful, or are in breach of emplyment regulations. Joanna Martin, an employment lawyer at Simons Muirhead & Burton, says: "Where the role performed by the intern goes beyond genuine work-shadowing – as it clearly does at many law firms and legal charities – the law says they should be paid.”

"In effect, firms are playing on the vulnerability of those starting out at the bottom of the profession," continues Martin, adding that it would "probably be career suicide" for a wannabe lawyer intern to sue an employer for not paying them.

Read more at www.guardian.co.uk.

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