Judith A. Nicely has been an advocate of women and children, both in the courtroom, as an attorney and a judge, and in the hospital, as a nurse and an educator.
Nicely graduated from Ohio State University with a Nursing degree in 1960. She taught at the College of Nursing at both Ohio State University and Marquette University. But the women’s movement made her rethink her career goals.
In 1974, Nicely returned to school; this time law school. After earning her J.D. degree from The University of Akron’s Law School in 1977, she went into private practice. She soon was specializing in domestic relations and family law. In 1990, she was elected Domestic Relations Judge for Summit County. While on the bench, Nicely worked to restructure the court and reduce the backlog of cases. Nicely completed two six-year terms on the bench before retiring in 2002.
The women’s movement has also influenced Nicely’s community involvement. She was a founding member of the Akron Women’s Network, president of Planned Parenthood in the city, speaker for the Akron League of Woman Voters and member of the Board of the YWCA. Currently, she is a board member of the Akron Art Museum and the Summit County Domestic Violence Task Force.
Over her many years on the bench, Nicely has received many awards, including the Women’s History Project’s Woman of the Year Award in 1983.
Photo courtesy of the Beacon Journal.