Son and father of Charleston lawyers of the same name, Jacob Nathaniel Nathans was educated at Porter Military Academy and The McCabe School in Virginia. He graduated in law from the University of Virginia and entered practice with his father at age 27.
About 1930, with his father and Huger Sinkler, he established the firm of Nathans and Sinkler; they later specialized in the legality of bond issues and became recognized as authorities in this area, building a substantial bond opinion practice. He was President of the South Carolina Bar Association, Vice-Chairman of the City School Board, Master of Landmark Lodge 76 A.F.M., member of the Charleston Ancient Artillery Society and the Hibernian Society. He was one of Charleston’s most influential and widely known citizens.
His marriage to Annie C. Smith of Summerville produced two sons; one practiced law with him and served in the South Carolina Legislature.
Integrity, knowledge of the law and careful handling of matters put in his charge made him spoken of as “the very embodiment of the highest ethics of the Bar.”