Mary Jo Nolan was first woman to be appointed to Superior Court in Essex County
Mary Jo Nolan, a retired judge who now offers mediation and arbitration services for family, estate and civil matters in Southwestern Ontario, is recipient of the Ontario Bar Association’s 2021 Award of Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Nolan was the first female case management master to be appointed in Ontario and the first woman to be appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Essex County. She joined the court in April 2005 and retired in July 2014.
Since stepping down from the bench, Nolan has brought her knowledge and experience, which covers all aspects of the province’s justice system but focuses particularly on matters involving families and children, to her work as principal of Nolan Mediation and Arbitration Services Inc., said the Ontario Bar Association.
At the University of Windsor Faculty of Law, Nolan has served as an adjunct professor and taught civil procedure and civil trial advocacy from 1999 until her appointment as a judge. She served as a facilitator for its problem-based learning program since its inception in 2014. In 2016, she again taught civil procedure at Windsor Law. She earned her law degree from there in 1981 and her admission to the Ontario bar in 1983.
Nolan has also worked in private practice and with the Ministry of the Attorney General, Courts Administration and the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. As someone passionate about working with families in crisis and for children’s rights, she was previously a social worker and manager with children’s aid societies in Toronto, Hamilton and Windsor.
Nolan has received degrees of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from the Law Society of Ontario, which was then called the Law Society of Upper Canada, in recognition of her commitment to access to justice, as well as from the University of Windsor in May 2018 for her dedication to children and families as a social worker, lawyer and judge.
The bar association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Section is presenting the Award of Excellence. The virtual award ceremony takes place today, with Mana Khami, partner at Harrison Pensa LLP, chairing the program.
The tribute speakers are Renee Pomerance, justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice; Peter Eberlie of Peter D. Eberlie Family Law Firm; and Harvey Strosberg, senior partner at Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP.