The Honourable Nicole Duval Hesler was appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec in 1992, to the Court of Appeal in 2006, and became Chief Justice of the province of Quebec in 2011. She 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 the 24 years which followed her admission to the Quebec Bar, 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 as 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 evidence 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 judicial appointments, Madam Duval Hesler has been a frequent lecturer on human rights, environmental law, the administration of justice and other legal topics, at the behest of, among others, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (Cambridge Lectures), the National Judicial Institute and the Montreal Bar Association. She was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Bar "Law for the Future Fund" in 1994 and 1995 and served as member of the Advisory Committee for the 1997 program of "The Law and You" (McGill University). She served on the Board of the Osgoode Society in 1996 and 1997 and thereafter on its Board of Trustees. She co-chaired the Education Committee of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice from 1995 to 2001 and became President of that institute from 2003 to 2005. She was a member of the Education Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council from 2006 to 2010. She was designated as the representative of the Quebec Court of Appeal on the Board of Pro Bono Québec in 2010 and 2011. She presided the Appellate Courts Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council from 2012 to 2015, and is a member of the Executive Committee as well as first vice-chair of that organization.