Judge Debra Nance was elected to the bench on November 6, 2012. She began a six-year term as Judge of the 46th District Court on January 1, 2013. Judge Nance received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Detroit. She began her career as an Assistant Personnel Superintendent at the Hudson’s Northland Store before serving as Personnel Superintendent for several other Hudson’s Stores throughout Michigan. She has also worked in various Human Resource Management capacities in the automotive market prior to launching her legal career.
Judge Nance began her career as an attorney after obtaining a law degree from Wayne State University Law School. She gained invaluable experience while working in the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Domestic Violence Unit and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Child & Family Abuse Bureau as an intern. After graduating she worked on assignment to the Office of the General Counsel at Ford Motor Company. In 2001, she went into private practice at a mid-sized law firm where she developed a successful litigation practice in the areas of Civil Litigation, Probate Litigation, Juvenile & Family Litigation and Adoption Law.
In service to the community, Judge Nance has volunteered in numerous projects. She has volunteered at free legal aid clinics. She worked to educate our youth by participating in the 50th Anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Project in Southfield Public Schools. She has supported organizations such as the Women’s Survival Center of Oakland County and Creating Independence and Outcomes (CIAO) for foster care children. She worked as an “Election Protection Attorney” in a number of elections to ensure the fairness and integrity of the election process. Judge Nance has also worked as a Volunteer Attorney Mediator for small claims, consumer and commercial disputes, and landlord/tenant matters in District Court.
Since taking the bench Judge Nance developed and presented Careers in the Courtroom to encourage elementary and high school students to pursue careers as defense attorneys, prosecutors, civil attorneys and judges. The program also introduces students to the importance of jury service. In addition, Judge Nance has designed and presented How to Prepare for Your Day in Court for adults. Judge Nance has been the keynote speaker at graduations, scholarship events and a number of community forums.
In service to the legal community, Judge Nance lectured to lawyers at the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, and has lectured to students at Cooley Law and the University of Michigan Law School. Active in various bar associations, she is a member of the Wolverine Bar, served as a Board Member for the D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, was selected to serve on the Oakland County Bar Association Judicial Candidates Committee, and was a long-serving member of the Adoption subcommittee of the Family Law Division of the Michigan State Bar Association. Prior to taking the bench Judge Nance was appointed to serve on the Michigan State Bar Character & Fitness Committee which reviews the suitability of law graduates seeking to obtain a license to practice in Michigan. Currently a member of the Michigan District Judges and the Oakland County District Judges Association, Judge Nance was elected President of the Association of Black Judges of Michigan for 2016-2017.