Gishan Abeyratne
Gishan Abeyratne
Senior Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Searching for your dream legal job - something out of a musical?

One thing people find surprising about me is my love of musicals. I think the looks of confusion and surprise stem from my penchant for music that’s mostly made of up of power chords and distortion, and while it’s very true I’m quite stubborn when it comes to the music I listen to on a daily basis (rock, metal, grunge etc.), I’m a sucker for a good musical! This includes the classics like West Side Story, Chicago, Oklahoma, The King and I, Les Miserables and of course the more recent hits such as The Greatest Showman, La La Land and Rock of Ages.

Why are musicals so good?

When I’m sat on a train early in the morning trundling through the Staffordshire countryside, my mind has time to wonder and I often think what life would be like if it was more like a musical?

The thing I enjoy so much about musicals is how far removed they are from reality. The singing and dancing, music and theatricality is all so captivating but utterly bizarre because there’s no way you'd ever walk into a room and just start singing about your day. How much fun would it be if we did though? How much easier would it be to make hard decisions if we were to sing and dance about it?

Allow me to set the scene, which I compare to a scene in La La Land. Things to keep in mind before I do: you’re the principal character, the lead, hero or heroine; you've got a supporting cast of friends, colleagues and family; this is your story and the spotlight’s on you.

Scenes in musicals are mostly distinguished by a particular song, ensemble or choreography. The scene and song I’ve picked is ‘Someone in the Crowd’ where the female lead (played by Emma Stone) returns to her apartment that she shares with three friends. She’s had a bad day, working in a job she hates with no future prospects and her latest audition (to break her way into showbiz) was a total flop. She’s feeling utterly dejected, grumpy, at a loss and so on. Her friends are on their way out to a party and insist she comes along, but she isn’t keen for obvious reasons. This is the point where it all changes; when they start singing and dancing. The message in the song is fairly straightforward: “Someone in the crowd could be the one you need to know… Someone in the crowd could take you where you wanna go…” and of course our leading lady joins her friends at the party and meets someone who eventually helps her realise her dream of Hollywood stardom. I’m of course paraphrasing and summating but I promise you there’s a point to all of this.

What do musicals have to do with recruitment?

As a specialist legal recruiter, I speak to lawyers from all over the world on a daily basis. I help people make career defining choices that are often difficult. In all the years I’ve been doing this, and in speaking to my more experienced colleagues, none of us has ever come across two lawyers with exactly the same story. There is one constant though: rejection.

At some point in your career, you’ll suffer rejection, much like our leading lady did before her friends sang and danced around her. She was ready to give up and simply accept her lot in life, but instead, she listened to their advice and guidance and eventually achieved her ambition.

In my story as your recruiter, I’m the singing and dancing girls trying to convince you to go to a party because you honestly never know how it’s going to go unless you try. People give us all sorts of excuses not to go to an interview but more often than not it stems from a lack of confidence. That’s what we’re here for, to help you prepare and to make sure that every opportunity you apply for is well within your reach. If singing and dancing would help with that, I’m more than happy to!

Think about your story, think about everything you want to achieve in your career as a lawyer, think about where you want to be and the type of firm you want to work for. Now think about every single time you’ve struggled, every application you’ve made that didn’t result in an interview or every interview that didn’t lead to an offer. For some of you reading this, it might seem somewhat endless whereas others might only have a handful of these experiences.

Here’s the point: you have to keep trying, and you have to listen to advice. You have to take risks and you have to step outside your comfort zone from time to time. Made so much easier with a supporting cast like BCL Legal.

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