Making Lemonade Out of Lemons: An Interview with Nathan Noh, Esq.

By: Christopher Arcitio | Editor-in-Chief


On Sunday, March 5, 2017, Staffer Christopher Arcitio met with Nathan K. Noh, Esq., Associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to discuss his background in the legal profession and his interests in the law.

By way of introduction, Mr. Nathan K. Noh is a first-year Associate at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (“Paul Weiss”).

Before joining Paul Weiss, Mr. Noh attended the University of California, Berkeley from 2010 to 2013, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. After graduation, Mr. Noh attended New York University School of Law and joined the school’s Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, where he served as the Senior Articles Editor. In Mr. Noh’s 2L summer, he was hired to work as a Summer Associate at Paul Weiss.

Now, Mr. Noh works for Paul Weiss’s Corporate department. As an unassigned associate, Mr. Noh’s daily work, in addition to typical corporate due diligence exercises, has tended to involve substantial work in the area of private funds.

How Christopher Met Mr. Noh

The events transpiring Mr. Noh’s informational interview can only be characterized as a “classic” networking moment. In addition to serving on the Commercial Division Online Law Report, I serve as an Articles and Notes Editor for the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review (“ABI Law Review”).

Every year, ABI Law Review sponsors its annual Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition, a competition that promotes and recognizes the finest oral and written advocacy on significant issues in bankruptcy practice. Law school students from all over the nation participate in the largest single site appellate moot court competition. The competition is named after the late Conrad B. Duberstein, St. John’s alumnus and former Chief Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York.

As an ABI Law Review member, I volunteered at the Duberstein Competition on Sunday, March 5, 2017. As a volunteer, I was tasked with escorting the judges to their assigned room. Judges at the competition ranged from practitioners from all legal fields to actual judges. Volunteers were encouraged to interact and meet the judges during the competition. It was in this capacity that I first met Mr. Noh.

I later encountered Mr. Noh during the competition’s lunch hour, where I finally approached Mr. Noh with the hopes of conducting an informational interview at that moment.

Thankfully, Mr. Noh agreed to do so.

Mr. Noh at St. John’s

Mr. Noh dedicated a substantial amount of interview discussing his motivations for being at St. John’s on an early Sunday morning. Mr. Noh’s interest here was purely academic.

Specifically, Mr. Noh found the legal issues raised in the competition to be interesting.

By way of the competition’s background, the ABI Law Review’s 2017 Duberstein Competition concerned a parent company’s sponsorship of its subsidiary’s chapter 11 reorganization plan free of all liabilities connected to the subsidiary. The issues raised on appeal were: (1) whether an appellate court has the authority to decline to hear an appeal on equitable mootness grounds; (2) whether a non-consensual permanent injunction of direct claims against a non-debtor may be included in a Chapter 11 plan.

Mr. Noh’s academic interest derived from the first issue’s intersection with the Constitution. Here, the bankruptcy court confirmed the reorganization and a subsequent appeal to the district court was dismissed as equitably moot. Later, the appellate court ruled that the doctrine of equitable mootness did not violate Article III of the Constitution. In the dissent’s eyes, however, the doctrine did violate Article II because it prevents Article III judges from reviewing the decisions of an Article I tribunal as is constitutionally required.

Mr. Noh’s Academic Interest in Constitutional Issues

It was this illustration of the separation of powers doctrine that attracted Mr. Noh to the Duberstein Competition.

During the interview, Mr. Noh expressed his genuine interest in learning and discussing the law among colleagues. While at New York University, Mr. Noh learned to love the teaching and communication aspect of law school through his experience as a teaching assistant and as an instructor for the law school’s High School Law Institute. This love transcended into his work as an attorney and drives his daily interactions as a corporate law associate. Indeed, Mr. Noh’s current LinkedIn profile states that he is a “Corporate Law Associate with a Love for Teaching and Talking About the Law.” Mr. Noh maintains an academic curiosity relating to issues of separation of powers and administrative law.

Advice to Current Law Students

Mr. Noh attributes his current success at Paul Weiss to his colleagues at the firm. He appreciates the immense amount of mentoring and support he receives on a daily basis from the firm’s lawyers—an integral part of the firm’s culture—and the significant substantive responsibility that he is given as a first-year associate, a sign of trust by more senior attorneys at the firm.

When asked what advice he could provide to current law students, Mr. Noh immediately stated that students should “be curious.” In the workplace, Mr. Noh urged students to avoid being bogged down with the task at hand because it is “easy to forget there’s a big picture.”

By maintaining an intellectual curiosity in the workplace, Mr. Noh believes that young attorneys can not only improve their own professional development, but also demonstrate to more senior attorneys a genuine interest and appetite to grow into more dependable and innovative attorneys.

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