Current Employment: Assistant Legal Advisor, LegalBase
Education: LLB, University of Durham; Solicitor of England and Wales
Return to Sri Lanka
Sashika returned to Sri Lanka in September 2013 after living in the UK for seven years. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Durham and the Legal Practice Certificate in York and thereafter worked at Morecrofts LLP, a Liverpool based full-service law firm. During her employment at Morecrofts LLP Sashika practiced in several departments, including litigation, corporate and property.
On her return to Sri Lanka Sashika joined LegalBase as an assistant legal advisor. LegalBase is a law firm that provides solutions in the legal outsourcing industry and attracts client from a wide range of jurisdictions. Sashika currently works with the corporate/commercial team at LegalBase and find the work similar to her previous role in the UK.
Thoughts on careers and professional development
Sashika was concerned that her lack of relevant local qualifications to practice as a lawyer in Sri Lanka would limit her opportunities to find a position in the legal field. However, Sashika found that there are several opportunities in the outsourcing industry as well as multi-national corporates who are looking for employees with experience working in other legal jurisdictions and who do not necessarily require local practicing qualifications.
Furthermore Sri Lanka’s current economic trend encourages foreign investment and therefore increases employment opportunities for foreign qualified lawyers.
Experience with compensation and living expenses
Remuneration packages in Sri Lanka are not comparable to those in the UK. However this is not necessarily a negative consideration as the living costs and taxes in Sri Lanka are much lower. Essential commodities e.g. food, water, gas are much cheaper in Sri Lanka than in the UK so a lower remuneration package does not necessarily mean a reduced quality of life.
Opinions about work culture
The work culture in Sri Lanka especially in the legal process outsourcing sector is not very different to working in a law firm in the UK. Some companies may however adopt vastly different policies in relation to improving employee satisfaction.
Standard things like holiday policies and managerial lines maybe different to working in the UK. However one must remember that work ethics often vary from company to company and across different industries.
Take on quality of life
Quality of life in Sri Lanka is fortunately vastly evolving to resemble that of life in the western world. Sashika feels that socially Sri Lanka progressed vastly during her seven years away from the island.
Sashika was expecting to have to adjust and adapt in terms of lifestyle however upon her return found that it was pretty easy to fit in. The ability to be only an hour away from a beach break is definitely a positive. Any returnee would be amazed at the change in the skyline and road network in Sri Lanka, which has improved greatly over the recent years.
Advice for potential returnees
Keep in mind that any new step in life is a big decision. However Sri Lanka is not the same place it was ten years ago and accordingly not as big a change as you might contemplate. Sri Lankan culture has not lost its homely, friendly feel but only evolved to capture many of the positives from the developed world.
Life is not going to be exactly the same as living in the UK (or elsewhere) but no two places are exactly the same. Settling down in Sri Lanka is relatively easy and will not require too much change on your part.