Question of the Week

Ever Had an Unpaid Law Internship? Hired an Unpaid Intern?

  • Print.


In a post this week, we noted reports that some states and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division are stepping up enforcement of potential violations by companies that offer unpaid internships that violate Labor Department standards.

“If you’re a for-profit employer or you want to pursue an internship with a for-profit employer, there aren’t going to be many circumstances where you can have an internship and not be paid and still be in compliance with the law,” Nancy J. Leppink, acting director wage and hour division, told the New York Times.

Among the standards that must be met: The employer must derive “no immediate advantage” from an unpaid intern’s work, and unpaid interns should not displace regular employees from their jobs.

What we want to hear from you: Have you ever had an unpaid law internship—or had unpaid law interns at your firm? If so, what were the position’s duties? Do you think the interns were exploited, or did they get a valuable educational experience?

Answer in the comments below.

Read the answers to last week’s question: What Was Your Most Grueling Year?

Featured answer:

Posted by Carrie: “I had a baby two days into my second year of law school, came back to school 2 weeks later, and split childcare with my academic husband by staggering our class schedules for the next 2 years. We would’ve liked to use the beautiful childcare center the law school advertises as a great perk for students, but it was packed with professors’ kids, and there was no way a student not bankrolled by the Bank of Daddy could afford it. After that experience, everything else in a legal career is a relief.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.