Upul was called to the bar in 1976 and later joined the Attorney General’s Department as a State Counsel in 1978. He was the first Legal Consultant to the Greater Colombo Economic Commission (GCEC) in 1978 which is now popularly known as the Board of Investment (BOI).
In addition to his practice as an Attorney-at-Law and President’s Counsel, he has enjoyed an illustrious career spanning over 45 years, where he acted as Chairman of several public and private corporations, including State Trading Tractor Corporation, Ceylon Oils and Fats Corporation and the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, which is the country’s central statutory and regulatory agency for investment.
In 1983, he was awarded the Top Young Outstanding Professional Award under the Entrepreneurship category for converting the State Trading Tractor Corporation to a profit-making venture. Thereafter, he spearheaded a consortium of investors to acquire 60% shares of the said corporation in 1992. He was appointed Managing Director/CEO of Ceylon Chocolates Ltd in 1997 and converted the same to a substantial profit centre. He was also a Director of Upali Investments Holdings Ltd (holding company of Ceylon Chocolates Ltd).
In 2013, he was elected as President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and played a pivotal role in upholding the rule of law and independence of the Judiciary. In recognition of his legal activism, he was awarded the Commonwealth Rule of Law Award in 2015 in Glasgow. He was appointed in January 2015 as the Chairman of the Board of Investment, the position of which he held till July 2017.
He has also served as an Executive Committee Member and Vice President of Law Asia.