21 East Church Street, Frederick, Maryland 21701

James M. Nichols, Esquire


301-662-7338 phone

240-764-2835 fax

James Nichols returned to private practice and joined his long-time friend and colleague, Michelle Martz, in August 2018, after leaving his position as the Deputy Chief of the Public Defender’s Post Conviction Division. Mr. Nichols originally graduated from the University of Delaware with degrees in psychology and philosophy, and later attended the University of Baltimore School of Law. There, he met Professor Byron Warnken, who invited him to join his Firm as a law clerk. Both in school and at work, Mr. Nichols focused on criminal post-verdict work, researching and writing appeals, post convictions, and post-sentencing motions for many of the Firm’s clients. After he completed a summer associate program with Kramon & Graham where he worked on a wide variety of civil matters, Mr. Nichols recognized that his passion was for criminal defense and returned to Professor Warnken’s staff as an attorney after graduating close to the top of his class. He remained there until 2013, when he joined the Office of the Public Defender’s Post Conviction Division to focus on helping indigent individuals receive the representation they deserved.

Mr. Nichols has appeared on behalf of clients in the Circuit Courts for nearly every county in Maryland, both of Maryland’s appellate courts, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Nichols was the principal counsel in both Matthews v. State, 424 Md. 503 (2011), and United States v. Moore, 709 F.3d 287 (4 th Cir. 2013), which resulted in successful outcomes for his clients. At the Public Defender’s Office, Mr. Nichols played a role in the ongoing Unger litigation and, through that work secured the release of numerous clients. Thereafter, he began working on the juvenile life initiative in hopes of addressing the longstanding injustices arising from Maryland’s de facto moratorium on parole for those serving life sentences. After several years with the Public Defender’s Office, Mr. Nichols desired to return to private practice so that he can dedicate his efforts to representing clients in hopes of securing better outcomes for those who have been wrongly convicted or unjustly charged.

Mr. Nichols has co-authored articles in the Daily Record, and has recently begun speaking to various lifer organizations. He brings a wide variety of experiences to the Firm, and his dedication, creativity, and willingness to fight for his clients has made him a great addition to our team.


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