Chapter 20 - Inquisition
The selected senior lawyers answered one by one. “We can terminate the contract. They performed the construction, but we can prove that there was a significant defect in the building. There are bound to be a few flaws stemming from the process of construction. If you can prove there is a defect that can result in additional repair costs, then it’s possible to trigger the plaintiff’s warranty to repair defects. In this case, I’m aware that there is a leading case which states that you don’t need to fully pay for the construction.”
“You are correct. I was in charge of a similar case before, but after going through the building with a fine-tooth comb, we found that a portion of the first floor was very slightly slanted. We obtained evidence of the defective area, and through the media, we promoted the danger of such defects in buildings. After the stock value of the construction company dropped temporarily, we ultimately won the case.”
After hearing that answer, Sehun turned back to Yoonshin. “Attorney Yoonshin Do.”
“Yes, Senior Attorney.”
“How are you planning on winning this case? Excluding what the seniors said, give me your answer.”
“How about a setoff by paying in arrears? In any case, the construction was delayed, and damages were accrued. Both sides have liabilities.”
“But you just said there are aggravating factors against the defendant showing that they prevented further construction. How could you ignore that?”
Yoonshin’s mind faded to white, and as Sehun continued to corner him by interrogation, Yoonshin’s improvisation skills ended up being depleted. The young lawyer tried to come up with an answer, but he drew a blank. He squeezed his eyes shut and opened them again before answering diffidently, “If you give me some time, I can think of a way starting now.”
“I already gave you two days. This is a very simple lawsuit. Juniors with some experience can do this with their eyes closed.”
“You gave me two days to read through the cases carefully and present a case brief.”
The partner’s narrowed eyes looked disappointed as if he knew that Yoonshin would answer that way. “So, you’re telling me that you simply did your homework. You memorized the documents, made a slideshow, organized the facts, and created a printout. Do you think you’re at law school, preparing for your licensing examination? For the past two days, you never thought about how we can win.”
Yoonshin couldn’t answer.
“Fourth-year, Doguk doesn’t need an objective lawyer. We want lawyers who win. Time? Of course you ran out. But do you want to say that to the client too? Sir, you only gave me two days. I’m sorry for losing. I believe you must compensate the plaintiff for damages.”
Yoonshin’s pale face drained completely of blood after hearing the scathing criticism. Everything Sehun said was right. Yoonshin had the unidimensional thought that he would be tested simply on his memorization and summarization skills. He believed that the mean Sehun Kang wanted to stress him out by giving him an immense pile of documents.
But if he thought about it just a bit more carefully and logically, the other lawyer was always busy with no spare time and wouldn’t have bothered to do that to him. If one couldn’t do simple work, one couldn’t step foot in this law firm. Yoonshin should have read between the lines to discern the secondary intention behind his assignment.
“It’s been one month since you came into the firm, yet you’re still an outsider. How much longer should I wait? Do you need another month?”
“My apologies. I didn’t think that far.”
“You can keep doing pro bono files. Imitate prosecutors, fight for justice, and help poor people—you can keep doing what you’ve been doing outside this firm. You’ll feel at ease and continue to follow the life that you lived so far as a benevolent, rich young master. If you want that, you can always let me know. I’m not interested in working while humoring associates who can’t settle in.” After his last utterance, Sehun threw the papers that were placed in front of him into the air. The sheets floated down behind Sehun’s head and blocked out parts of the painting on the back wall, then softly landed one by one onto the bare floor.
Yoonshin was upset at Sehun, who threw his suffering of two days like trash. Even so, he maintained his composure and said, “So are you saying you won’t listen to me further?”
“You were the one who said that you only need a little of my time. You keep forgetting what you said. That’s not a good habit.”
“I still have the criminal case left. It’s a charge of professional negligence resulting in death.”
Sehun had started to get up to leave but stopped. He quietly gazed at Yoonshin, who tried to keep calm and had changed the slide on the screen to the brief about the criminal case.
Their eyes met. Yoonshin’s eyelids fluttered in anger, but that was all. He was upset, but Sehun pointed out errors that Yoonshin understood. Sehun faulted Yoonshin for being quick to talk, but he internally rejected the working style of a big law firm. Yoonshin placidly attempted to persuade the partner in a level-headed manner. “You said you would attend my test. Those were your words. And it’s still my time. I still have things left to say.”
“The same thing will happen.”
“I was scolded because I was stupid. However, I still want to finish showing you what I completed.”
The senior lawyers stayed silent and studied Sehun’s reaction. Sehun’s eyebrows twitched, and then, for some reason, he sat back down. He rested one leg over the other and crossed his arms before gesturing with his chin arrogantly. “Try me. I’m looking forward to which role you took this time.”
Yoonshin bit down on his lip hard, then gripped his laser pointer tighter. Afterward, he resumed his presentation. Sehun observed Yoonshin very carefully.
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