Zari Shah (J.D. ’22) found her way to Georgia State Law after some trial-and-error with other career options. She graduated with a degree in Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation, but quickly figured out that line of work wouldn’t lead to her dream job. Along the journey, she tried out instructing yoga, non-profit work, and running an art studio. As she was negotiating contracts with the landlord of the studio, she realized how much there was to it through her own research. Because of how much she was enjoying it, she figured that law would be a good path for her.
While the pandemic has shifted what Shah’s 2L year will look like, she’s not letting that prevent her from making the most of her law school experience. She’s involved in both the Student Health Law Association and the Pro Bono program, and successfully completed an externship virtually during the summer. Here, she discusses what type of law she’s interested in and why Georgia State is the right choice for her.
What has stood out to you so far during your time at GSU Law?
I really enjoyed torts right from the beginning and I knew I liked medical malpractice, but I didn’t really know what category it fit under. When I realized that was part of torts, it was exactly the field I wanted to go into. I started going to the health law events and now I am taking health law classes and I am definitely going in that direction.
What draws you to health law?
I’m drawn to the stories that surround health law, and that’s what drew my interest to torts as well. Every case is like its own series, where it can take so many twists and turns. It’s really interesting to me to see the medical side of it. I have two surgeons and a nurse in my family, so I enjoy seeing it from a new perspective which I’ve never been able to do before.
What did you do for your externship this summer?
I was at Atlanta Legal Aid in their health law unit. The non-profit that I worked in before coming to law school was similar in the sense that we worked with clients one-on-one. I prefer that kind of interaction with clients because I love seeing the direct impact your work can have. I also got experience writing memos, doing research and was even able to conduct an informal hearing for one of my clients under a supervising attorney via video conference. We won the client’s case! Even with the pandemic, I was able to do my externship virtually and still get that experience from home which was great.
Why did you choose Georgia State for law school?
I decided on Georgia State because I love the location being in the middle of everything. My family is in Alpharetta, so coming here gave me a chance to be close to my family, friends and support system. It’s great having that comfort of being at home but also being able to pursue my dream job in an amazing city.
Interview by Mara Thompson