Klimov KO's Khanom's career?

An apprentice solicitor who worked for Mishcon de Reya has made such a mess of her employment claim against the firm that the judge said her "feeble" excuses were "bordering on contempt".

Forzana Khanom started her case badly and got worse. Having sued the firm in 2022, she failed to comply with the first judge’s orders to provide evidence of her alleged disability and to disclose documents, despite being “repeatedly chased” by Mishcon.

Then she ignored the next disclosure order, and the next.

When the tribunal demanded an explanation on threat of striking out, Khanom blamed her former solicitors who had parted ways with her, and the side effects of her medication, and “technical problems” with her laptop.

Casting a headmaster’s eye over her “wholly unpersuasive” list of excuses, Employment Judge Pavel Klimov said they were “insufficient” to excuse her “continued failure” to comply with the tribunal’s orders.

When the preliminary hearing rolled along in February, Judge Klimov described how Khanom emailed to say that she’d be unable to join as she was at the airport “about to board a flight to go on a family trip abroad for her birthday”.

Judge Klimov’s response delivered by his clerk (“If you do not join the hearing at 10am, your claim is likely to be dismissed and you may be ordered to pay [Mishcon’s] costs”) was greeted with a bounceback.

His clerk them attempted to phone Khanon, but the apprentice solicitor hadn’t left a number and the judge, appearing to be somewhat peeved by this point, ordered the hearing to go ahead without her.

That presented a series of open goals and possibly the easiest case of her career for Mishcon’s barrister, Tara O’Halloran of old Square Chambers.

O’Halloran explained that “it was hardly surprising that the claimant had failed to attend the hearing, considering how she had been pursuing the matter all along” and took the judge, now with first hand experience of Khanom’s truancy, through the apprentice solicitor’s conduct “highlighting repeated and unexplained failures”.

Judge Klimov agreed in his ruling that Khanom had shown a “complete and utter disregard” for the Tribunal’s processes which caused Mishcon “substantial and unnecessary” costs and had wasted the time of “at least six” Employment Judges who dealt with her case at various stages. And while everyone else had to bend over backwards, she “barely exerted any effort herself”.

As an apprentice solicitor, “It appears she aspires to join this profession”, observed Judge Klimov, but “her conduct of this case demonstrates the opposite of what could be expected of someone in her position”.

Listing off her “egregious disregard” for the tribunal’s orders, her “frankly scarcely credible” explanations, her “feeble excuses” and her “utter disrespect” for Mishcon and the Tribunal which was “bordering on contempt”, Judge Klimov appears to have taken some satisfaction in striking out Khanom’s claim.

Mishcon did not comment.

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Anonymous 12 April 24 09:44

Yes, sounds like a Mishcon Man to me. Her only problem is that she sounds to have peaked a bit early for the firm to tolerate. Should have saved it for 'Managing' Associate level.

On a Mischon for DEI 12 April 24 10:05

I wonder if Mischon's post 2018 prioritisation of diversity at all costs may have impacted on the quality of new starters?

Anonymous 12 April 24 10:12

Sounds like 10:05 needs to go think a little bit harder about just how valuable diversity is! Just because someone failed all the entry tests and sucks at the job after getting in on the access scheme doesn't mean that they aren't worth every penny! That's what the diversity consultant we hired who couldn't make it as a lawyer themselves said, and there's no reason to doubt them now, is there?!

Anonymous 12 April 24 11:47

Not sure which bigots are downvoting my 10:12? Frankly, if you don't understand the immeasurable value that your firm derives from having a bunch of people who don't do great work, perpetually raise identity-related grievances against their colleagues, and spend the majority of their working days going to DEI-themed committees and polishing their 'personal brand' on LinkedIn, then perhaps you need to go back to the 1980's when all law firms cared about was making a profit and delivering high-quality legal services to their clients. You dreadful hate-filled scum. Do better!

Harry1986 12 April 24 13:08

I hope the tribunal ordered her to pick up MDR's costs.  Some employees show a flagrant disregard for processes and the costs incurred in defending such claims, but the tribunals rarely hand out cost awards against them. This needs to change as there's no skin off someone's nose bringing a silly claim (whilst not too silly to stay below the black letter threshold triggering cost awards).

Nonny 15 April 24 09:44

I've successfully argued for a costs award against a LIP in the ET.  Not enough people actually argue for them.  In the circs the Employer was content to allow the threat of collecting to moderate the Employee's behaviour

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