In 2002, law professor David Yamata suggested that "[l]egal actions by a few bold individuals could trigger a more widespread awareness of the legal plight of student interns." Mistreated interns now have their own book-length expose' and are indeed suing employers in the fashion, journalism and film industries.
But what comes after that?
Imagine that these lawsuits continue to multiply, and they succeed in scaring all businesses into abiding the criteria for how internships should work, according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. That doesn’t entirely do the trick, either. Regardless of whether an internship violates labor law, students from low-income families still cannot afford to take it if it pays poorly. Students from high-income families still can.