Bloomberg Law
July 27, 2023, 9:00 AM

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Rohit Nath of Susman Godfrey

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
Executive Editor
MP McQueen

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.

I represent The Turtles in a putative class action against Pandora. The goal is to get fair compensation for owners of pre-1972 sound recordings. We’ve had several significant wins in the last few years.

In 2020, I led the briefing and argument in opposition to Pandora’s anti-SLAPP motion, which raised issues of first impression related to the 2018 Music Modernization Act. I defended the district court’s denial of the anti-SLAPP motion before the Ninth Circuit, where we won again.

I also represent low-income tenants’ organizations as intervenors to defend Covid-19 eviction moratoria across California. These moratoria were a lifeline for tenants who lost income due to the pandemic. I defended Los Angeles’s moratorium against a constitutional challenge.

I argued in opposition to the preliminary injunction motion in the district court and before the Ninth Circuit. The result was the first published federal appellate decision upholding a Covid-19 eviction ordinance.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?

Documents win cases—for which I need to give a hat tip to Susman Godfrey partner Geoff Harrison. A witness’s testimony is ephemeral, but the emails she wrote aren’t. At SG, we start building our trial story at the outset of a case, and that starts with understanding what was written down at the time.

This lesson has served me well at every stage of litigation, from drafting pleadings, to taking depositions, to briefing summary judgment, to examining and preparing witnesses at trial.

How do you define success in your practice?

I define success as consistently doing thorough, excellent work. You can’t always control the outcome of a particular case, but you can control the quality of your work product. And over time, carefully crafted briefing, arguments, and examinations will generate results.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?

I’m most proud of our firm’s success in defending Covid-19 housing measures throughout California. It was a privilege to represent Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action and Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, who do real, on-the-ground work to help tenants in need. In these cases, we have managed to have an enormous impact.

In Apartment Association v. City of Los Angeles, we obtained the first federal appellate decision rejecting a constitutional challenge to a local Covid-19 eviction moratorium. That set the stage for good results for other cases throughout the Ninth Circuit and the country. In another case, we recently won a dismissal on the pleadings of a $100 million takings challenge of the City’s eviction moratorium.

These cases have continued in 2023, and we have another Ninth Circuit appeal pending, where argument will likely be heard later this year. We hope to continue our success in this area.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?

Steven Sklaver, who is a partner in our LA office. I had the pleasure of working with Steven since I was a summer associate when he tasked me with writing an opposition to summary judgment in a multimillion-dollar insurance class action.

Steven embodies our founder Steve Susman’s philosophy of fostering and mentoring homegrown talent. He put me in the driver’s seat in my cases from the day I started at the firm and helped me develop the skills to success.

One concrete example: When I was a first-year associate at the firm, I complained to him about the amount of stand-up court time I had gotten. In response, Steven had me argue—the very next week—a high-stakes transfer motion before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

Tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.
“Fables of Faubus”, Charlie Mingus. And “Kashmir,” Led Zeppelin.

Rohit Nath of Susman Godfrey at Laguna Beach, California.
Credit: Rohit Nath and Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Law

Rohit Nath’s recent wins include 37 Besen Parkway v. John Hancock Life Insurance, in which he helped to secure a settlement of $91.25 million for a certified class of insurance policyowners against John Hancock Life Insurance. He served as co-president of the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California from 2021-2022 and is a longtime board member. Nath is also on the executive committee of the litigation section of the LA County Bar Association.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

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