A catch up with....Simao Paxi-Cato

Next in our ‘a catch up with’ series, we’re talking to Simao Paxi-Cato. Simao is a Barrister and Civil & Commercial Mediator at Black Antelope Law. Simao was called to the Bar in 2010 and specialises in civil, commercial and public law litigation and disputes.

He is also a strong proponent of social mobility within the legal profession.

How did you get in to your career?

I knew I wanted to go to the Bar at an early age, but I was fortunate enough to get myself an excellent mentor at 16 who has been instrumental over the years. One of my law tutors at university was a practising barrister and she encouraged me to pursue my goal. The rest was good fortune, a lot of hard work and lots of practice interviews to make sure that I would take advantage of the opportunity when it came.

What attributes do you need to be a successful barrister?

Be approachable and non-judgmental, deliver on time (if not before), have a learning attitude and keep developing your skillset to stay ahead of others.

Any advice for pupils / junior Barristers?

Be proactive and not reactive to the legal changes around you, find yourself a mentor (in or outside Chambers) to support you and provide a roadmap of the challenges up ahead and finally, develop your soft skills, which are as important as your legal ability.

Besides your main role as a Barrister, what other roles have you had / what other organisations are you involved with? What made you want to do those roles / be part of those organisations?

It would be a challenge for me to name all of the organisations (legal and non-legal) that I have volunteered or been involved with over the years. However, a common theme amongst them has been a commitment to social mobility, education, bringing together communities and tackling unmet legal need. With some, my involvement was because of chance meetings, and with others, it was because I got in touch because I wanted to help in some way.

Biggest challenge so far in your career?

I recently had the pleasure of trying to pass on all my knowledge and experience to-date to my first pupil. I’ll have to ask for her feedback!

Favourite thing about your job?

The diversity of the people I meet. I have worked with and advised a range of different professionals, met people from all the world and I have picked up a wealth of knowledge directly and indirectly from them.

What’s important to Barristers at this moment in time?

Responding to the changing legal landscape. There are a lot of opportunities as well as threats and I think most practitioners are trying to work out how they fit into this new world and whether they need to diversify their practice, take on direct access work, etc or simply try something new and innovate.

What is your biggest passion?

I would have to say music because I’m always listening to something on the way to work, at work (when I’m not with clients), whilst travelling and when asleep. I panic when I can’t find one of my many headphones.

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?

Inventing. I’m not sure what I would invent, but I enjoy being creative. It’s nice not to have any boundaries sometimes.

What job would you be terrible at?

Present wrapping!

If you could meet any historical figure, who would you choose and why?

This is a hard one as whoever I chose, I’m sure I will think of someone else the moment the print is dry! I think it would have to be one of history’s great polymaths, such as Leonardo da Vinci. He is someone who pushed the boundaries across a range of disciplines.

Why do you use Cassons / how have they helped you?

I have been with Cassons since I was a pupil and I have always found the team to be responsive, expert and friendly. The Bar Department is always alive to issues affecting the profession, the Xero cloud software provided is first class and most importantly, I rarely have to call them with queries.