Gishan Abeyratne

A career in Legal Recruitment

I have been an Associate Director with Think Legal Recruitment for just over three years now, with a total of nearly nine years in legal recruitment. However, getting here was an interesting journey.

August 2013, after several years in London working in the City and in corporate sales, and a brief stint as a musician, I decided to up sticks and move home to Derbyshire to be closer to my family. At this point in time and at the tender age of 26, I had extraordinarily little idea of what to do next. I moved back in with my parents and I considered a few options; teaching, retraining as a paramedic, joining the Police, but none of these options really sparked any excitement in me. So, while I was mulling it over, I took a job in a cocktail bar, which was a stark difference to the lifestyle I had been used to living since completing my LPC in 2009.

Fast forward to October 2013 and I catch up with an old friend. We did the LLB and the LPC together, we lived together throughout our time at university, and when I moved down to London chasing a dream (and a big salary) he stayed in Birmingham and pursued a career in law, starting off as a paralegal. In his pursuit of a new job, he had engaged a legal recruiter some six months prior and said recruiter had given him the option to make the switch into legal recruitment. This then gave me something to think about, something I had never considered before and had truly little knowledge of but given my academic background in Law and my experience in sales and professional services, it felt like it was worth exploring. Several interviews later, I began my career in legal recruitment in January 2014, and I have never looked back.

At the time I joined a national agency, a well-known brand, the perfect place to learn the trade and hone my craft. I enjoyed over five years in that business, which included promotions and many successes. The colleagues I met there became close friends, and I was able to build my reputation and establish my brand as a specialist legal recruiter in the Birmingham market. It all sounds rosy, so why would I leave?

When the opportunity arose to join Think Legal, the timing was impeccable. For a while I had been thinking about change, about a new challenge, the chance to do something new. I had already interviewed with a couple of other agencies, I’d received a couple of offers, but I couldn’t see how those roles would have been any different to the one I was already in. Yes, the people I met were lovely, the work was interesting, and there were clear pathways for career development, but the issues I was already experiencing looked like they would be repeated at any one of those other agencies. So, what made Think Legal different?

Changing jobs is a daunting prospect, and the process is littered with emotional and practical hurdles along the way. The decision is one not to be taken lightly;  I met with Joe and Paul (our founders and directors) on several occasions between October 2018 and March 2019, and the first thing that occurred to me was that they weren’t selling me an opportunity, they were asking me how I wanted the role to work. They gave me a platform, and the autonomy to build our brand in a new market, with true independence to do things my way. I was coming out of a business of 100+ people with a very structured way of working and rigid targets. I say this with all due respect to my former employers of course, but it had become clear to me that I could only go so far in that business. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but my ambition was different. Think Legal was able to offer me a sense of freedom and control over my career that I hadn’t previously been entitled to.

We’re a small business, and at the time of joining I was only the fourth member of the band. The culture fit was always going to be of paramount importance, but that would have been the case had we been a much larger business of course. What I found here, and what I still have here, is a different approach to a job that is as challenging as it is rewarding. Make no mistakes about recruitment, the highs are unbeatable, but the lows can be soul destroying, which is why our relationship as a group, our transparency and our support of one another is a pillar of our business.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, we’re still a small business but we’re also growing. Three years ago I took a leap of faith out of a relatively safe and comfortable position into something rather unknown to me, something that as a prospect was vastly different to anything I had done before and came with risk, but that burden and that risk wasn’t all on my shoulders. This isn’t growth for the sake of it, we offer a genuinely different platform and culture, without rigid targets and a truly collegiate way of working.

If you would like to learn more about us, you can do so here: https://www.thinklegalrecruitment.com/about-us

Or you would be welcome to get in touch.

Gishan Abeyratne
Associate Director
07720 694 701 | gishan@thinklegalrecruitment.com

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