Opinion: Don’t ban unpaid internships

Is the trend towards a ban on unpaid internships a good thing? How many in-house counsel have gained value experience (legal or otherwise) that have aided them in their career path? In an era where jobs are scarce for those without experience – but experience is only gained through work, can’t unpaid internships help solve the unemployment conundrum? Read Walter Olson’s thoughts on the issue:

Unpaid internships are standard practice at the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in political campaigns. Should they be banned for private-sector employers? I answer “no” in a new U.S. News “Debate Club” also featuring a contribution by Dan Rothschild of R Street Institute as well as contributions by three advocates of a ban… With eyes wide open, students with many options have long sought out voluntary unpaid internships because they’re an arrangement that can rationally benefit both sides. In an Auburn University working paper last month (via), four economists reported on a study that found internship experience was associated with a 14 percent increase in the rate at which prospective employers request interviews of job seekers…. Yet class-action lawyers and labor activists now attack internships as — in the trendy, elastic new term — “wage theft.”… In modern America, it’s never more than a short jump from “this set-up isn’t for everyone” to “let’s ban it.”

Read: Don’t ban unpaid internships at Overlawyered

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