After a six-year term, Lake County Circuit Court Judge Robert “Rob” F. Nichols Jr. is officially retiring come Friday, May 31.
The fifth generation lawyer won’t be completely removed from the job as judges go through a “Plan B process” where they commit to a five year, 35 days a year or seven weeks of work that can be done anywhere in the state. The 175 days can be condensed too, bringing the five years as low as they prefer.
Nichols came back to Lakeview in 1978 after college and law school, having grown up in the county. He practiced law with his father, Robert F. Nichols Sr. after his return and took the District Attorney position in the early 1980s. After leaving the position in 1989, Nichols returned to practicing law with his father and John Bogardus from 1989 to 2013.
In 2013, Nichols was appointed as Lake County’s sole judge replacing Judge Lane Simpson after his nearly 23 years of time on the bench.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has yet to open the process for the next judge in line, therefore it isn’t known who will be replacing Nichols. Advertisement will come first to a small group and it will stay open for a few weeks. After that, an investigation of candidates, interviewing and finer details will cover a six-week process before Lake County has its new judge on the bench.
Nichols who is now 66 years old knew a while ago this was about his target age for retirement after serving a total of 41 years in the law space.
“I missed private practice to the extent that you were always trying to help individuals, but this gives you a different perspective sitting on the bench,” said Nichols. “In resolving those cases you’re helping those people.”
As for his retirement plans, Nichols hasn’t given it much thought. He hopes to pursue more recreational activities with his wife, Marcia, and enjoy the next few years being active in Lakeview.
“This is my community,” said Nichols with a smile. “I really enjoyed serving the people here.”