Chapter 19 - Inquisition
“Are you sure about that?” Sehun asked.
“It’s really not what you thought.”
“Whatever, stop blocking the way and move.” Sehun roughly pushed past Yoonshin before the younger man even had the chance to step aside. Sehun took the centermost seat. Then, as if they all waited for the other to move, the other lawyers courteously entered the room and filled the remaining seats.
While the senior lawyers read through the printouts, Yoonshin caught his breath and tried to calm his fluttering heart by reminding himself, ‘You prepared to the best of your abilities. Just don’t make a mistake.’
Yoonshin took a few deep breaths, then greeted the seniors politely. “It’s the first time I’m introducing myself formally. I’m Yoonshin Do.”
There was no reply. Most of the seniors were reading through the printout that Yoonshin prepared. In that short time, a few of them seemed to already regard him highly for organizing the main points very well. Sitting crookedly right in front of the abstract painting, Sehun’s piercing gaze was fixed on Yoonshin.
Yoonshin was about to continue his preliminary greetings, but Sehun checked his watch and interrupted. “Cut the small talk and start. We’re all busy people.”
Yoonshin chewed his lips, then he nodded.
After that, he pointed his laser pointer at the screen. “Then, I’ll begin. This case is a lawsuit demanding payment for construction. The plaintiff was unable to receive their construction cost and sent a complaint letter to the defendant. The contract with the defendant building owner was not left in writing, so instead the plaintiffs submitted an audio recording of the verbal contract. The construction was performed, and payment was due, but they were not able to receive their payment. All the conditions are met for litigation.”
One of the seniors who was flipping through the papers turned on the mic and asked, “The document is well organized. When was the payment due? It’s standard practice for the construction balance to be paid in full when the building is delivered to the owner. In this case, the defendant stated that the extension to the building was not completed. Hence, payment was not due; there was no reason to pay the plaintiffs. How will you solve this?”
“Construction was postponed for over six months and is ongoing. During that time, there is clear evidence that shows that the defendant building owner interfered with the construction, preventing the plaintiffs from finishing construction.” Yoonshin changed the slide and presented the evidence. There were photos demonstrating that the defendant erected a fence around the building in question and damaged construction materials. The defendant’s position was that they did this to keep out wildlife.
Yoonshin pointed at the photos and expounded, “There is a leading case which states that if there is a change in the situation, such as the suspension of construction, the time stipulated in the contract changes, starting from the change in the situation. The payment then becomes due. If you look at the printout…”
Yoonshin’s scrawny hands lifted the printout to check the page numbers. However, he was stopped when Sehun’s pen, which he was spinning in his fingers, rolled toward Yoonshin. Sehun looked extremely displeased about something. “Wait.”
“So… You’re saying we need to pay?”
“According to what I confirmed about the case, a secured debt exists, and payment is due. In principle, the defendant needs to pay.”
Upon hearing that answer, Sehun looked askance. He turned his head with a nuanced face, where he pointed at a senior on the opposite end of the table. “Okay, so question. Are we the plaintiff or the defendant? It’s a very easy question.”
The lawyer who had hurriedly skimmed through replied confidently, “Plaintiff.”
Sehun looked back at Yoonshin, giving him a knowing look. He addressed Yoonshin this time, “He said plaintiff. Why? Because you, the presenter, did not say that this was a case about non-payment for performance. You said it was a case where the payment was due but not received.”
“What organization do you belong to?”
“And our firm is?”
Yoonshin hesitated and then spoke. “…We represent the defendant.”
“Are you a prosecutor by any chance? A righteous hero—it fits Attorney Yoonshin Do like a glove. Or you could be a judge. Oh, if you’re neither, you’re just an audience member who follows the rules veeery well. Rules are nice.” The longer Sehun continued to talk, the chillier the atmosphere of the room became. It was like Sehun was spraying cold water into the air. Sehun was clearly deriding Yoonshin, and naturally, the other lawyers paid closer attention to Sehun and Yoonshin.
Yoonshin had a good reason to retort and rebutted immediately, “But you didn’t ask me to formulate an argument. You told me to summarize and organize the key points of the case. I maintained an objective and neutral lens to prevent being swept away by either side of the argument. The plaintiff’s argument that I presented can be dissected for our defense. This process is much needed.”
“It is indeed much needed. But do you really think ‘we’ are the defendant? I’m asking about your mindset. No matter how you see it, someone getting ripped out of millions of dollars, rightfully earned, will feel wronged. I got that feeling from reading your notes last night. Did I misunderstand that? I didn’t read it, but this printout seems to be the same.”
Yoonshin was at a loss for what to say and pressed his lips together. Sehun was correct without a margin of error. In all the cases Yoonshin worked on so far, he represented people like the plaintiff in this case. Naturally, in the process of organizing the documents, he looked through the lens of the plaintiff, but he couldn’t bring himself to admit that.
As the other lawyer fell silent, Sehun, who was facing the front, turned his chair slightly to the side and leaned his head to the side. He glanced at the seniors near him and then pointed at the first two lawyers in sight with his chin. “Hey, you two. I’ll ask you a question. You seemed to have understood the case in general by reading the document. In this case, what strategy can the defendant use? It’s not a difficult case, so let’s just go for the most reasonable route.”
You are required to login first