Julia is Nick's first serious girlfriend after Caroline; they date during the winter of 2012. She is a hardworking lawyer who had a tough childhood and has received counselling for anger management issues. She is generally a serious person and clashes with Jess right away, but they attempt to put aside their differences for the sake of Nick, who they both care about. However, she and Nick break up when he freaks out over a cactus she gives him as a gift, which makes her realize that she's just not that into their relationship.
Julia is first introduced on a date with Nick - they are attending a "lawyer party" at her law office, where Julia must suck-up to a bunch of 24-year-old law students to convince them to work at the firm. It's already Nick and Julia's fifth date, but Nick hasn't mentioned anything about her to his roommates. She drinks a martini while Nick puts on a Bill Cosby impression, which she attempts to mimic, before remarking that she's glad he's there with her.
She's surprised when Nick admits that he attended, but dropped out, of law school, but is hardly offended when he says the reason he quit is because it hit him that he hated lawyers. "For some reason, I find you ridiculously attractive for saying that." Nick awkwardly, flirtatiously, suggests she kiss his ass, then, and after letting the silence drown the conversation she smiles. "I'm just kidding, I really do want to do that," she says. Nick suggests they leave the party and head back to her place, still unwilling to bring her back to the loft, which makes her wonder if he's married or hiding something else. She notes that Nick rarely ever reveals anything about himself. He gives in, taking her back to the loft where she meets Jess and Winston.
Jess is ordering a stripper for Schmidt's surprise 29th birthday party bus, and Winston invites her to come even though Nick would rather he didn't. She asks whether the party is a "presents thing" or a "donation to charity situation," so Winston tells her to just bring herself before Nick suggests they head to his room. When she leaves, Nick tells Winston they aren't friends right now because of the invite, which he was hoping to avoid because he says he's 100 per cent embarrassed by his friends.
The day of Schmidt's birthday, Nick arrives to board the bus with Julia. After Schmidt gets his birthday surprise and tours the decked-out school bus Jess rented, Julia talks to Nick and says she thinks thinks seeing Nick in his "natural habitat" is fascinating. Nick, though, disagrees, and when Schmidt's douchey friend Benjamin shows up, he tries to pretend he doesn't know him.
Julia quickly recognizes just how different Nick and Schmidt are, and openly wonders whether Schmidt tucks his jeans into his boots when he goes out at night. Though Nick says that Schmidt is a 'd-bag' and gives Julia permission to tease his friends just like he does, she says she doesn't want to tease them and finds his friends to be cool, nice, and fun. He's in the middle of ridiculing Winston for his fear of thunder and love of Sister, Sister when Winston appears behind him with Schmidt's birthday cake and overhears him.
After a small snafu over the arrival of a down-and-out middle aged male stripper, Jess gets the party underway while Nick, Julia, and the other guests settle onto the bus with their drinks.
Later, when the bus stops at an outdoor bonfire, the guests start chanting for "Bro Juice." Julia wonders what that is, and Nick says he has no idea, but his cover is immediately blown when Winston grabs the megaphone and explains that Nick invented "Bro Juice" - an alcoholic cocktail - for Schmidt's 22nd birthday. His friends demand that he drink his own creation, and though he warns Julia that what he's about to do is unattractive, he removes his jacket and chugs straight from the cooler. From behind him, Julia smiles.
Back on the bus later that night, Nick is slightly drunk and apologizing to Julia, who is quiet. She admits that she's slightly intimidated sitting next to the inventor of "Bro Juice," and Nick thinks he's embarrassed himself too much and that she'll break up with him. But she thinks that's ridiculous, noting that everyone has embarrassing stuff, before she admits there are things about her that Nick doesn't know about, either. "Like what?" he asks, but she simply asks him not to lie to her, and says they'll otherwise be fine. Nick laughs, and says he doesn't believe that she really has "stuff," surmising that she's perfect - which Julia clearly disagrees with, but she says nothing more.
An argument breaks out on the bus when Benjamin hits on Jess - who's not interested in the slightest - and he lashes out at Schmidt for having a lame birthday. It's beginning to escalate, and Julia steps in. She appears to want to calm the situation down, but she asks Benjamin to repeat himself. "You guys suck," Benjamin repeats, and Julia punches him in the nose. She starts beating on him, and he falls into the driver, who loses control of the bus and crashes it on the side of the road.
Julia is mortified by her behaviour, and Nick is stunned. "Who are you?" he wonders.
The party is clearly over, and as guests leave, Nick asks Julia if she's a "Bourne Identity person." Embarrassed, she explains that she has anger management issues that she's trying to fix with court-ordered classes. She reveals that she started taking martial arts ironically, because she thought it would make her more zen - but didn't. She thinks Nick is really freaked out, but he's also incredibly turned on, and makes out with her before a taxi arrives to take him, Julia, and Winston back to the loft, while Jess and Schmidt stay behind to wait for the tow truck.
Because he's touched by the fact Jess went to so much trouble to throw him a birthday party, he misreads the situation and leans in to try to kiss her. This incurs a $50 "Douchebag Jar" infraction - the largest amount he's ever put in. Julia is cuddling with Nick on the couch as Schmidt attempts to dispute the charges to his roommates the next morning, but ultimately he loses the debate and is forced to put the money in.
Julia agrees to try to help Jess out of an overdue traffic ticket. While preparing for their court date, Jess realizes that Julia doesn't like her. Julia is overwhelmed by Jess's personality and calls it a "thing". She says that Jess probably gets out of a lot of trouble by using her "scared baby big eye" look.
Everyone agrees that Julia probably doesn't like Jess, except for Nick.
Winston hopes to rekindle a one-night-stand from two years ago.
In the end, Julia makes an effort to be nicer to Jess and spends time crocheting with Jess and her friends.
Julie and Nick plan to spend Valentine's Day together, but she ends up working late at the office while Nick befriends her intern, Cliff.
Before heading to China on a business trip, Julia gives Nick a cactus. He freaks out about it, and they break up.
- Julia was Nick's first serious relationship following his breakup with Caroline.
- She is not a dessert person.
- She takes court-ordered anger management classes and martial arts, which she thought would make her more zen, but it didn't.
- Her last name is revealed as Cleary when Nick visits her at her law office on "Valentine's Day," during his first conversation with her hapless intern, Cliff.