The Honourable Nicole Duval Hesler was elevated to the position of Chief Justice of Quebec on October 7, 2011. She was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2006 and to the Superior Court of Quebec in 1992. The Honourable Duval Hesler was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1968. The same year, she joined the Montreal firm of Buchanan McAllister, later known as McAllister, Blakely, Hesler & Lapierre, in which she became a partner in 1976.
During her twenty-four years of practice as a lawyer, Madam Duval Hesler specialized in litigation, particularly in the areas of civil liability, product liability, construction law, bankruptcy matters and environmental law. She represented the Order of Architects of Quebec before the National Assembly Committee on the reform of the Civil Code of Quebec.
On a parallel career track, Madam Duval Hesler was appointed a member of the Federal Human Rights Tribunal in 1979 and presided over many Human Rights Tribunals thereafter. She gave training seminars for the Quebec Human Rights Commission on the subject of proof of discrimination. In 1990, she was also appointed a member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation professionnelle des médecins du Québec by l'Office des professions du Québec.
Both before and after her appointment to the Quebec Superior Court in 1992, as well as after her appointment to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2006, Madam Duval Hesler has been a frequent lecturer on human rights, environmental law, the administration of justice and other legal topics, at the behest, among others, of the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (Cambridge Lectures), The National Judicial Institute, the Montreal Bar Association and the Junior Bar of Montreal. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Bar "Law for the Future Fund" from 1994 to 1998 and served as member of the Advisory Committee for the 1997 program of "The Law and you" (McGill University). She also sat on the Board of Trustees for The Osgoode Society in 1996 and 1997 and on its advisory Board afterwards. She co-chaired the Education Committee of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice from 1995 to 2001, and was president of that Institute from 2003 to 2005. She was a member of the Judicial Education Committee of the Canadian Judicial Conference from 2006 to 2010. She is the delegated representative of the Quebec Court of Appeal on the board of Pro Bono Quebec.