Judge Julie A. Nicholson was elected to the 52nd District Court, 3rd Division in November of 1996. The Michigan State Supreme Court appointed Judge Nicholson Chief Judge of the 52nd District Court in January of 2000, 2002, 2012, 2014 and 2016. She was appointed Chief Judge Pro Tem in January 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010. Judge Nicholson has been a member of the Michigan Judicial Institute faculty as well as an Adjunct Professor at Cooley Law School.
Judge Nicholson received her B.A. degree in Business Administration/Pre-Law from Michigan State University in 1983 and her J.D. from Detroit College of Law in 1987. Prior to her election, Judge Nicholson was an associate and partner in private law firms.
In September of 1997, Judge Nicholson instituted the Court in the Schools/Critical Life Choices program for all four school districts in the Court's jurisdiction. Judge Nicholson travels monthly to schools and conducts actual court proceedings and presents an interactive video presentation about the consequences of illegal behavior. In 2005 Judge Nicholson developed her "Have to Choose" program for high school students which focuses on making healthy choices.
In 2008 Judge Nicholson developed the Most Wanted program, which utilizes the assistance of the public to apprehend high risk individuals who have absconded from the court system.
Judge Nicholson currently serves on the Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital board. She previously served as a Trustee for Notre Dame Preparatory/Marist Academy and on the Board of Directors for Rainbow Connection, Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Zoological Society, Oakland County Zoological Authority, and North Oakland YMCA. She also has been involved with several community organizations such as the Rochester/Auburn Hills Coalition for the Prevention of Substance Abuse; the North Oakland Community Coalition; Oakland County Prescription Drug Abuse Partnership; HAVEN Mock Trial Judge; The Women's Foundation; the Oakland County Coordinating Council Against Domestic Violence; the Mayor's Advisory Committee for Van Hoosen Museum; and the Rochester, Auburn Hills, and Lake Orion/Oxford Chambers of Commerce. Judge Nicholson was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to the Local Intergovernmental Advisory Council and the Advisory Collection Committee and was a member of MJI's Crime Victim Rights Manual's Editorial Advisory Committee.
Judge Nicholson is or has been a member of the following associations: American Bar Association, State Bar of Michigan, Oakland County Bar Association, Rochester Bar Association, Orion/Oxford Bar Association, Women Lawyers Association, American Judicial Association, and Michigan District Judges Association.
Judge Nicholson has received the following awards: 2002 Rochester Board of Education Service Award; 2005 Rochester Elks Community Service recognition; 2006 OCBA Distinguished Public Servant Award; 2008 Michigan State University College of Law Distinguished Alumni Award; 2010 Gary Bernstein Esteemed Women Award; the 2015 Oakland Mediation Leadership Award; the 2019 Oakland Mediation Center Advocate Award; and the 2020 Rochester Regional Chamber Board Member of the Year Award.
Judge Nicholson is rated "AV Preeminent" by Martindale-Hubbell - Bar Registry of Preeminent Women Lawyers.