Al Roth has an interesting post about law internships in Israel (and about professional licensing – particularly lawyer licensing – more generally), based on a recent Ynet story. Apparently Israel has extended the mandatory internship period from one year to two.
Internships and pre-licensing employment under other names serves multiple purposes. One purpose is to train future professionals. Another might be to limit entry into a profession. Both things seem to be at issue with law internships in Israel.
According to Ynet:
While senior lawyers welcome new regulations announced by Justice Minister Shaked, law students complain internship is akin to ‘modern slavery.’
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked elaborated in remarks at the annual conference of the Israel Bar Association:
“I decided to extend the length of the required internship period to two years believing that law students will be much better qualified and prepared to take their bar exam, and will have to show a great deal of dedication in order to become lawyers,” Shaked said.
“This will lead to a decline in the number of lawyers, and an increase in their professional expertise,” she concluded.
Although the move was praised by senior lawyers, law students had a different take. Said Or Gavish, who is about to start his law studies at Tel Aviv University:
The internship period is difficult and tiring, and according to what I have heard, you become a type of ‘modern slave,’ while doing secretarial work for a meager salary,” he added. “It’s a cheap and efficient labor force, because without the firm’s approval you can’t become a lawyer.”