So I came back to GAG because of AOC...
Background: I worked at law firms for five years and I've been involved in hiring decisions.
Fact of the matter is, most entry level jobs are admin work or delivery related. There are firms in India, China and other countries that can do admin work extremely well for 1/10 of the price. There are other people that do coffee deliveries. Hiring someone without an internship period is a liability. It's also an attitude thing. The fact that you are willing to do an unpaid internship means that you are genuinely interested in the business and not just in it for the money, at least from my experience.
1. Corporations are not responsible for "paying your bills".
You are responsible for your own finances. I've met so many young people who spend their money on the most ridiculous things like lunch, breakfast at Starbucks everyday, clubbing every night, bar hopping and Spotify subscriptions. You do not need these things. You don't get to enjoy luxuries like that when you are an intern. I've had so many interns say things like, "omg it's 2019, no one cooks" when I or other people at the law firm cook our own lunches.
2. Interns have poor attitudes.
Lets see.... They want to leave at 5PM sharp when everybody is staying late. Many of them spend hours at lunch when you really should be taking lunch at your desk. They want to take vacation right away when you should wait until 3-6months after hiring at least. They think they only have one boss when they really have multiple bosses (basically they are bottom of the pole and reports to everybody).
We can't have people like that at my work. Law firms are a client oriented service industry. We don't say no to clients. If a paying client wants something done at 6/7/8, you drop everything and do it.
We are observing character during an unpaid internship. And we're not paying for that since we become invested. We don't want to be invested until we are sure you are a good fit.
4. Unpaid internships are like a trial period.
Basically we want to see if you have what it takes. It's really hard to fire people and I wouldn't hire anyone without a trial to see if they are a good fit.
MOST IMPORTANT: Bottom line is, there are many firms that we can can outsource to for a much better quality/efficiency and cost than hiring a paid student. You can hire 10 workers in India for one entry level salary, and they do extremely well. So if companies are mandated to pay student, more companies may choose outsourcing.