Adam Fellows, aspiring barrister

The unpaid internship: Know your rights

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  • I have 2 paralegals at any one time. They are properly remunerated. Whilst there may be special circumstances, in general I think positions like this should be paid. How else would students with big debts live.

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  • 6 months for free is outrageous

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  • I would reiterate that this is a major problem across the legal sector - not just an issue for would be barristers. I receive weekly careers emails from BPP, and a large proportion of positions offered are unpaid "internships" or "work experience" at various solicitors firms for prolonged (months)/unlimited amounts of time, with job descriptions the same as that of a paralegal who a few years ago would have been paid £20k+.

    This is in addition to the abundance of very low paid paralegal positions (e.g. £12k) with very high demands (e.g. requiring Distinction/Commedation on the LPC or Competent/V Competent on BPTC + good degree + A Levels), doing the same work as a trainee, but again as mentioned in the article, not counting towards qualification.

    This seems to be across the board - involving all types/levels of firm. It is becoming very difficult to get experience, with recruiters even demanding "experience" from applicants for internships. I appreciate finances may be tight, and competition high, but this is at best opportunistic, at worst, exploitation.

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