I dabble in finger style jazz on a steel string archtop so have a few observations which might be helpful....Generally, it's harder to get a good tone with nails on a steel string so many (not all) of the jazz fingerstylists use a shorter nail and a more equal nail/flesh strike than classical players. Those that play "plugged in" use a much lighter touch than a classical player would. This is one issue I find switching back and forth is that I need a lighter touch on the steel string or the strings will buzz, the action is low, rest stroke is mostly out and doesn't make a noticable difference as it might on classical. And then when I switch back to classical it takes me a moment to get used to needing a stronger right hand attack. I don't find that my nails suffer much with steel strings but then I don't exclusively play steel string instruments. If I did perhaps it would be another matter.
Most of the finger players also use flat wound strings so there is less wear on the nail (fewer left hand squeeks too...kind of a serious no - no in jazz
) and many build up their nails with various materials as many classical players do. I don't remember Martin Taylor mentioning it in any of his interviews or articles/books but it looks like he does use reinforcement on his nails from the glimpses I've seen online. In person, I don't remember even looking at his nails, it was just too interesting watching him play as a whole...amazing player.
Edit. Actually I just looked in his Guitar Method and there is a small section on nails...he uses "Silk Wraps".
Nylon string jazz instuments and players are becoming more common with instrument from Godin, Cordoba, Yamaha and even hand made nylon string archtops http://www.nylonstringjazzguitar.com/
. As a classical player I think this might be a good compromise for the nail using finger player. The tone is a little different from the rather unique accepted jazz tone but I think many listeners will be forgiving...