Thursday, September 10, 2015

Part of our series of profiles of some of the newest law students this year. Read more here.

By Suzanne Bowness

Shari NathanAs 21-year-old Shari Nathan prepares to begin her law degree this fall, she’ll be able to call on the best mentor available—her mother. “She actually got her law degree about six years ago. She went back to school, so I was able to see her go through that process and what she's been able to do with it afterwards,” says Nathan.

Besides the family influence, Nathan says law school was also a natural progression from the applied philosophy degree that she took at U of T, where she specialized in bioethics. It’s an area she intends to continue to pursue, given U of T's research strengths and its relationship with the Joint Centre for Bioethics.

Nathan is energized by the advancements in health care in recent years, and the big questions that these raise.

“It's a new field in law. Obviously there's existing health law but there's a lot of changes in terms of what people are willing to tolerate in terms of health care and access, and what they find morally acceptable. There's a lot to do.” She would like to work in corporate health law or in-house at a hospital, ideally in the United States where she sees some of the more complex health-policy debates happening.

Outside of the classroom, Nathan is an active volunteer for the Workers Action Centre which helps to defend the rights of workers. Most recently she assisted on its campaign to raise the minimum wage. As the daughter of lesbian parents, she is also a longstanding volunteer with Dykes Planning Tykes, and Daddies and Papas 2B program, through the LGBTQ Parenting Network at the Sherbourne Health Centre.

Nathan also has a good example of the variety of career options in her mother’s trajectory—from working with immigrants to the public service, to her mother’s current position as an adjudicator at the Ontario Social Benefits Tribunal. And what does her mother think about her daughter’s new adventure? “It meant a lot to her that I've applied to law school as well,” says Nathan.