Chapter 6 - Condition Precedent
As Yoonshin’s sister, there was no way she didn’t know how straight-laced and proper her brother was. In that aspect, Sehun was not a good tutor nor a good nanny for Yoonshin. “How to survive… Was that the only condition?”
“One more thing—on the condition that he works under you, she wants you to give him mostly pro bono[mfn] Legal work done voluntarily and free of charge.[/mfn] work for the next few months until he gets used to practicing at a big firm. She said that he would be unaccustomed to files that we take here.”
“She truly knows her brother well. That makes me even more suspicious as to why she would send him to me.”
“She must know about your talent. Every partner needs to complete a certain number of volunteer hours. You didn’t fill a single hour yet, so this will be good for you. With a focus on free legal consultation and pro bono files, you can leave your hours for the new kid. Attorney Do’s win rate is decent, your name could be placed on the record, and Do could do the legwork and consultation for the trial.”
“I can donate money every year. Why do I need to be bothered with volunteering?”
Mihee shrugged. “Unfortunately, that’s the firm’s internal rules. Qualis rex, talis grex.[mfn]“Like king, like people.” People in power need to set a good example for those under them.[/mfn] Don’t you know?”
“Change the rules.”
“Even if the rules do change, you still need to do it. You’ll only be making it better for others. Your last restructuring case displaced a lot more employees than expected, so the press was bad. You need to give the impression to the public that Doguk is reflecting and repenting.”
Sehun wanted to ask if they really needed to go this far just to employ Yoonshin Do. Of course, this was reasonable enough in Mihee’s perspective. But truth be told, Sehun didn’t feel many attachments to Doguk. He could produce as good of an outcome in any other firm. He could just quit if there was something he didn’t want to do.
But one thing stopped him. Sehun still was indebted to his senior Mihee, who sponsored him financially throughout his education.
Sehun detested being entangled with others with the likes of loyalty, friendship, or indebtedness. Emotions were a form of weakness. If he listened to her request now, he felt like he could settle all his past debts and return their relationship to zero.
“My job description doesn’t include serving a young master. Propose a compromise to me and I’ll have a listen,” Sehun said.
“How about increasing your dividend? You won’t be disappointed,” Mihee offered.
“You’re going to solve this with money, huh? You don’t know how difficult it is to care for a child.”
Mihee flew into a rage. “You are the top earner of this law firm. Most things are already in your favor. I had to hard-bargain with my father to convince him to increase your dividend. The partner title isn’t free, you know. It’s a very expensive title given for investing in the firm.”
“I’m not trying to rip other people off. Don’t you feel embarrassed for making a big deal about my money? Forget about the dividend. The firm needs to operate too and give associates their salaries.”
“Then what do you want?”
“Freedom to do what I want with all my matters within the firm without interference.”
Mihee flinched, then clenched and unclenched her dry hands repeatedly. Her hands soon started to sweat. She didn’t know how Sehun would use this abstract condition, but deep inside, she knew better than anyone else that he would use this power very effectively. “If I say okay to that, I’m playing into your hands, right?”
“Negotiation is for people who have something to lose. Trying to test me won’t help you.”
As if waiting for this response, he immediately replied, “Your loss.”
He started to get up from his seat when the other quickly waved her hands. “Okay, I get it. But ‘all’ is subject to interpretation, so…”
“I can send you the details on paper.”
Mihee looked resentfully at him before she snapped her fingers, having no other choice. She had already expected that Sehun wouldn’t budge if not for some shocking condition, so she wasn’t too surprised. As the party who lost the negotiation, she attempted to retain her inner peace and took a deep breath. Sehun observed her carefully, then said in a composed manner, “I’ll test him first, then if I think he can be useful, I’ll teach him a few things one by one. After all, I’m always in need of excellent human resources.”
“Don’t just stick him in a mountain of pro bono files. Let him work on some of your team’s files. I’ll send over the documents soon.”
Sehun refuted, telling her there was no need. “No, don’t send them over yet. The wife of the Soohan conglomerate picked me, so if I refuse, there’s no reason for Yoonshin Do to continue working here. I want to watch him for a couple of months first, then we can talk about it again. Let’s write the contract at that time. Just give him his monthly salary until then.”
“You can’t do that when you’re going to make him work.”
“I choose my own clients. But Director Do randomly picked me out from the crowd, so I feel a bit uncomfortable with this situation. I’m tolerating this because I’m indebted to you. I can’t compromise any more than this.”
“Do you want me to quit? If that’s the case, just tell me here and now. Tell me to move out of the apartment, return my investments, and collect my commissions. I can do this in a day.” There was no turning back for Sehun—if he said he would do it, he kept his word.
If he was so vocal about his demands, Mihee had no choice but to step back. “Take it easy on him. He’s an underclassman from our alma mater and the son of Professor Do, who we both respect.”
“I think it’s pointless to respect others, so I don’t do it. It’s a different story if it’s about respecting me, though.”
“He was the only respectable adult that we knew. The fact that he passed away while defending the victims who suffered extremely poor working conditions perfects his legacy. We may be materially richer than him, but he did work that you nor I could do in our lifetimes. Let’s shed some of the debt in our hearts this way, at least.”
“I just liquidated the only debt I had. I have no more obligations to anyone. You can go settle your own debts as much as you want, Attorney Song.”
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