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Ribaudo named St. Louis County associate judge

Criminal defense lawyer Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo will become the next associate circuit judge in St. Louis County.

Gov. Jay Nixon announced the appointment Thursday afternoon.

“I thought I would remember every word he said, but of course I didn’t,” Ribaudo said.  “It is honestly the most important, biggest news of my lifetime.”

The vacancy on the associate circuit bench was created when Nixon named Judge Gloria Clark Reno to the circuit court.

Ribaudo was on a panel with lawyer Bruce F. Hilton, of Hilton & Hartford, and Commissioner Kristine Kerr, of the St. Louis County Family Court. She had nothing but good things to say about her co-nominees.

“Both Kris Kerr and Bruce Hilton are phenomenal attorneys and phenomenal people,” she said.

Becoming a judge has been one of Ribaudo’s lifelong dreams.

“I wanted it since I was a child. My high school yearbook actually talks about how in 20 years I’ll be a Supreme Court justice,” she laughed. “I realized about five years after law school that wasn’t going to happen.”

Ribaudo said she enjoys the public service aspect of being a judge as well as the interaction with all of the participants in a courtroom.

“And I’m fascinated by the law,” she added.

Ribaudo is an associate with Rosenblum, Schwartz, Rogers & Glass. She has been practicing criminal defense law for the past 13 years. According to the law firm’s Web site, she has tried more than 40 felony jury trials. She also teaches trial advocacy as an adjunct professor at Saint Louis University School of Law.

Before joining the Rosenblum firm, Ribaudo worked for the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office.

Ribaudo received a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in criminal justice in 1993 from the University of Dayton, and she received her law degree from Saint Louis University in 1996. She was admitted to The Missouri Bar in 1996. Ribaudo was also admitted to practice law before the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Missouri in 2003 and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007.

The new judge will be sworn in within the next 30 days.