Corporate, Health

Grauer finds 'perfect fit' at DDO Health Law

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

The next chapter of Toronto health and corporate lawyer Shanon Grauer’s career promises to be the most fulfilling yet.

Grauer, recently joined DDO Health Law and INQ Data Law as counsel, after leaving the partnership of Bay Street giant McCarthy Tétrault LLP due to its mandatory retirement policy.

“I wasn’t ready to hang up my shingle just yet,” she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“I love the practice of law, and I’m really pleased to have landed here because I feel like I‘ve found the perfect fit,” Grauer says of DDO.

Despite spending all of her four decades at the bar at one firm, she’s no stranger to a career pivot.

Grauer’s first major taste of culture shock came when she moved from B.C. — where her undergraduate years were spent specializing in ecology and economics — to the University of Toronto’s law school.

“I came from a very different environment, and part of my education was to learn about business law, which I ended up specializing in,” she says.

The first 14 years of Grauer’s time with McCarthys were occupied in a mainstream corporate commercial practice, helping private companies with mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations and corporate governance.

However, when one of her main clients abandoned its Canadian operations, and another was bought out by a competitor, Grauer decided to broaden her legal horizons, and pursue new business in the health law field.

“It was a natural choice since I had taken medical jurisprudence at law school and I’m from a medical family — my mom was a nurse, and my dad was a surgeon,” she explains.

Soon after, Grauer helped McCarthys add a major Toronto hospital to its roster of clients, as well as a collection of community-care access centres.

“I got to see home care and acute care in the same time frame, and that really launched my career in health law,” she says.

In 2001, Grauer cemented her place in the field when she took on a teaching role for the newly launched Health Law and Ethics course at the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation (IHPME), in alliance with the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine. She is still affiliated with the IHPME, which is now in alliance with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

“It was a great way of keeping up to date with more areas of health law than I would be exposed to in my normal practice,” Grauer says. “We tried to cover the entire waterfront in the course, which was a pretty big undertaking, with new statutes being added each year.”

There is also a robust academic flavour to her practice, which involves a significant amount of opinion work.

“I love having the chance to conduct that kind of cerebral analysis, looking at statutes and case law to figure out exactly what the law allows,” says Grauer, who also provides health regulatory advice to a variety of entities, including hospitals, health-care suppliers, foundations, and other stakeholders in the health services sector.

Whomever she’s advising, Grauer takes what she calls a “consensual” approach to the problem at hand.

“I try to find solutions that are more win-win,” she says. “It takes a great deal to get me riled up, but I’m good at listening to multiple sides of a transaction, to figure out the common ground.”

In addition to assisting health-care organizations with their legal needs, Grauer also runs a broader charity and not-for-profit practice, which she says was a natural outgrowth from her health law practice.

“Institutions that deliver health care tend ether to be charities or not-for-profits,” Grauer says. “The two are joined at the hip.”

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