Judge Carolyn H. Nichols, was elected to a ten year term in Superior Court in 2017. Previously, she was elected to the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court in 2011, and conducted felony jury trials in criminal court, with equal justice, protecting the rights of crime victims, and the accused, working to create opportunities for positive reentry to prevent recidivism.
Judge Nichols attended Philadelphia public schools, and received the Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree from Temple University in 1978. She graduated from Temple University Law School in 1985, with the Juris Doctor Degree, and received the Masters in Law Degree (LLM) in Trial Advocacy from Temple University Law School in 1994. Additionally, Judge Nichols obtained the Masters in Business Administration Degree from Eastern University in 2002.
Her professional career spans over twenty years of public service, including Legislative Assistant to former Philadelphia Councilwoman, Augusta Clarke; Assistant City Solicitor, and Deputy Secretary of External Affairs for the Mayor’s Office, in which she managed the City’s federal issues, including appropriations, and legislative advocacy. As City Deputy Finance Director, she managed the Minority Business Enterprise Council (MBEC), to ensure that women and minority owned businesses received fair inclusion and participation in City contracts. She also maintained a solo general civil litigation law practice, prior to her election to the Common Pleas Bench.
In 2014, Philadelphia City Council honored Judge Nichols for receiving the City Office of Economic Opportunity’s Guardian of Economic Inclusion Award for her service as MBEC Director. Judge Nichols has received recognition for her community service, including the Overbrook High School Hall of Fame. In 2007 and 2008, Judge Nichols was honored by the Philadelphia Tribune as one of the City’s Most Influential African Americans.
Judge Nichols is active in mentoring, and peace building programs in public schools to prevent violence, and to stop the school to prison pipeline with groups such as the Philadelphia School District FACE (Family and Community Engagement), Mothers in Charge, Black Male Educators (BMEC), and the Philadelphia Bar Association civic education program (ACE). She promotes inclusion and dialogue with groups such as, the Truman Project to promote international understanding; Masjidullah; Al Aqsa Islamic Society; the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, and NewCore – to generate dialogue and understanding about culture, race and ethnicity. Judge Nichols initiated a dialogue group with African American and Jewish professional women with the American Jewish Committee. She is a member of the Philadelphia Education Fund, Education First Compact, to improve public education in local schools.
Judge Nichols is a member of the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Judicial Council, and the International Association of Women Judges. She has traveled internationally extensively to participate in cultural exchanges with judges concerning constitutional and judicial reform.