District Judge William M. Nickerson was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1933. Judge Nickerson attended the University of Virginia, receiving his B.A. in 1955. From 1955 to 1959, after completing U. S. Coast Guard Officer Candidate School, Judge Nickerson served as a deck officer on U. S. Coast Guard cutters. From 1959 until 1962, Judge Nickerson attended the University of Maryland School of Law (evening division), and he obtained his LL.B. in 1962.
Following law school, Judge Nickerson entered the law firm of Whiteford, Taylor and Preston in Baltimore, Maryland. He left the firm in 1985, when he was appointed as an Associate Judge for the Circuit Court of Baltimore County. In 1986, Judge Nickerson was elected to this same position for a 15-year term. Judge Nickerson was nominated by President Bush, on January 24, 1990, to a vacant seat on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. After being confirmed by the Senate on May 11, 1990, he was commissioned on June 11, 1990. Judge Nickerson assumed senior status on June 11, 2002. He retired from the bench on September 30, 2017.
Judge Nickerson was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 1962. He served as vice chairman and chair-elect of the Attorney Grievance Commission from 1984-85, having first served as a panel member of its Inquiry Committee and then as a member of its Review Board from 1983-85. In addition, Judge Nickerson was chairman of the Maryland Bar Association Committee on Ethics from 1983-84, following a six-year stint as committee member. From 1977-79, Judge Nickerson was a member of his church’s board of trustees. Judge Nickerson was director of the Baltimore Rotary Club from 1978-80 and received a Paul Harris Fellowship Award in 2000.