Chapter 12 - Competence Test
The two neatly stacked the immense piles of papers from the carts onto the coffee table before signaling their departure to the composed Sehun and bewildered Yoonshin.
After the door closed with a click, Yoonshin, who was shocked at the sheer number of documents, glared daggers at Sehun. “Senior Attorney, I wonder what those are? You seem to know, judging by your reaction.”
“They’re two litigation files around the size our third and fourth-year junior lawyers handle. One is civil, the other is criminal.”
One of the key responsibilities of a partner lawyer was to collect cases. Sometimes, they took the lead on matters in their specialty or matters that potentially brought in the big bucks, but smaller files were often handed down to associates to handle independently. From decision making to retention as representatives, many law firms had a top-down approach. In turn, a partner lawyer’s words were like the law to associates. Doguk seemed to be no different.
Yoonshin could easily tell that these documents before his eyes were related to cases that Sehun obtained.
“These documents must be for the files. Will you assign one of these files to me? Or both?”
Sehun laughed hollowly in disbelief. “You want to do litigation? Do you think you’re on the litigation team? You seem better suited for that; do you want me to send you there?”
Yoonshin felt cornered, so he decided to seal his lips. Sehun then added, “Granted that you aren’t an idiot, you must have seen the firm’s atmosphere in the past month. This is my first test to judge whether you can earn your keep.”
“A test? Okay. What do I need to do?”
“I’ll give you two days. Read all these without skipping a single word. Then, brief our team’s seniors who have no knowledge about this case. They have to understand the entirety of the case based on your brief, and when they ask questions, your answers can’t have any gaps or errors. Can you do that?”
Yoonshin supposed that this was all for determining how efficiently he could work in a short period of time. However, there still wasn’t enough time to process that extensive volume of documents in two days. “All of this in two days? I also have documents for the pro bono files to look over. Since they were transferred to me urgently, a few of them are in the middle of trial.”
Sehun was more used to unconditional acceptance and his eyebrows twitched. He got up and walked back to Yoonshin. He extended both arms, placed them shoulder-width apart on the desk, and leaned down, meeting eyes at an angle with Yoonshin.
Their faces were quite close. Sehun’s narrow eyes, placed symmetrically on his smooth face, blinked slowly. He looked somewhat sinister. Yoonshin winced and gripped the cup in his hands a bit tighter.
“Hey, fourth-year associate. See, I’m pretty good at metacognition,” Sehun said.
“I can somewhat tell,” Yoonshin replied.
“And the most important key to persuading the judge is to maintain the same position from start to finish.”
“I know that well too.”
“You know both, so why are you acting like this? You said you’d give it your all. If you contradict yourself, as a person with excellent memory, recall what I said: I will feel extremely distressed. Don’t you think, Fourth-year?”
“I must do well so my sister can feel at ease, so I’ll give it my all,” Yoonshin remembered the words that he had said, so he couldn’t make an excuse or have a chance to protest. “I’m sorry. I can do it.”
Sehun didn’t seem to be quite pleased, but in any case, this was an answer that he could accept. He slowly straightened his back and stared down at an intimidating angle. There were no noticeable emotions on his face. However, Yoonshin could glimpse underlying confidence that bordered on arrogance. The partner’s life, decorated with victories seized no matter the method, made him the person he was today.
Thanks to that, Yoonshin, physically in a lower position and looking up, fleetingly thought that Sehun Kang was probably the best suited in the world to be looking down on others. He felt like the other wouldn’t know what loneliness or humiliation felt like even if he were to die and come back to life.
At that moment, for some reason, he wanted to see Sehun’s face showing pain from defeat at least once. Yoonshin had never imagined another person’s pained expression before. He thought this was weird of him, so he tried to shake off his thoughts.
Sehun was quick to catch that Yoonshin couldn’t concentrate on their conversation, lost deep in his own world, so he snapped his fingers in Yoonshin’s face. “Two days from today, this time in the morning. At the main conference room. Any additional questions?”
“Uh, so do I need to give a case brief to just you? And receive questions from the senior lawyers?”
“I tossed this case to the other teams, so I’m not interested. I’m not going. The response rate needs to approach 100% and you can’t take longer than two seconds to answer a question. Ultimately, the senior lawyers will give you a score and judge your value. If it’s decent, I’ll readjust your salary to that of an average fourth-year associate.”
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