Nan R. Nolan

Nan Nolan is a former United States Magistrate Judge with extensive experience in a wide variety of complex litigation matters and is a nationally recognized authority in electronic discovery. During her 14 years as a Magistrate Judge, she presided over numerous complex federal cases at every phase of civil litigation. Judge Nolan’s work on these cases ranged from supervision of pretrial discovery and mediation in settlement conferences, to presiding over bench and jury trials where parties had consented to her jurisdiction. Prior to joining the bench, she had more than two decades of experience handling a wide variety of civil and criminal matters in private practice as well as with the Federal Public Defender program. After retiring from the court in 2012, Judge Nolan served as an arbitrator, mediator, and special master with JAMS.

Judge Nolan’s experience includes antitrust claims, business and commercial disputes, class actions under state and federal laws, labor and employment disputes, insurance disputes, intellectual property disputes, personal injury and tort disputes, securities matters, and white collar criminal matters. Notably, in the area of discovery and the use of technology assisted review (TAR), in her role as Magistrate Judge she was instrumental in assisting the parties in resolving discovery disputes in the multi-party antitrust class action against containerboard producers filed in the Northern District of Illinois. See Kleen Prods., LLC v. Packaging Corp. of America, 2012 WL 4498465 (Sept. 28, 2012). Judge Nolan was also one of the co-founders of the Seventh Circuit’s E-Discovery Pilot Program which was initiated as a multi-year, multi-phase process to develop, implement, evaluate, and improve pretrial litigation procedures that would provide fairness and justice to all parties while seeking to reduce the cost and burden of electronic discovery consistent with Rule 1 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Judge Nolan is a frequent speaker on eDiscovery and information governance topics.

Among other awards and recognitions, Judge Nolan received the 1996 American Bar Association Award for "Pro Bono Publico Award" (Rolando Cruz Defense Team), 1996 Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) Award (Rolando Cruz Defense Team), 1996 Public Interest Law Initiative, "Distinguished Public Service Award" (Rolando Cruz Defense Team). In 2014 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She also received the 2016 Leadership Award from the Electronic Discovery Institute at the Sixth Annual EDI Leadership Summit.

Honors Membership Awards

Member & Co-Founder, Seventh Circuit Electronic Discovery Pilot Program (Past Chairperson, 2009-2012); Chairperson of the E-Mediation Subcommittee, present Member, The Sedona Conference® Advisory Board, 2004-present Member, Georgetown University E-Discovery Advisory Board, 2004-present Docent, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, 1992-present member.


Judge Nolan received a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law and a B.S. in Sociology from Loyola University Chicago. Judge Nolan is admitted to practice in Illinois.