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Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ginger Gooch discusses judicial role and community service


Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ginger Gooch joined Chamber members on May 6 for a conversation about her new role on the Missouri Supreme Court, her passion for community service, judicial insights and more. This event was the first installment of the Chamber’s 2024 Public Policy Speaker Series.

Gooch, a Springfield native, began her legal career after law school serving as a clerk to Judge Ann K. Covington on the Missouri Supreme Court from 2000 to 2001. Gooch then practiced with Husch Blackwell LLP in Springfield until 2022, when she was appointed by Governor Parson to the Missouri Southern Court of Appeals.

“I thought about clerking right out of law school. It seemed like a great way to start private practice and the thought never occurred to me to become a judge or serve on the supreme court,” said Gooch. “I didn’t see myself becoming a supreme court judge. I didn’t even dream big enough for that.”

Gooch is the seventh female Missouri Supreme Court judge, following Judge Covington’s appointment as the first female Missouri Supreme Court Judge. While she did not want to understate this significance in history, Gooch shared that she ultimately wants to be known as a good judge.

“For me, the key is being a good judge, not a good female judge, or a good judge from Southwest Missouri. I want to be somebody who absolutely should be there based on my qualifications,” said Gooch. “Hopefully, one day, the gender will not even matter.”

In describing her daily work, Gooch explained the majority of her time is not spent on the bench hearing arguments, but instead, over half of her time is spent writing opinions, evaluating which cases to review and other administrative duties.

“You have to be willing to do the research and write about topics you may not have encountered in private practice,” said Gooch.

As one of seven voices on the Missouri Supreme Court, Gooch must work collaboratively to discuss complicated legal questions, while using her own expertise and insight to come to an independent conclusion.

Gooch also highlighted the additional and varied roles of the supreme court, which go beyond determining judgements on cases. Outside of performing her legal duties, Gooch considers engaging with the public to be an integral part of her role.

Furthermore, Gooch highlighted the need for talent attraction and retention in the business community, specifically in the legal profession. She believes a large market exists for legal talent with many professional firms struggling to hire as the work requires a strong passion that not everyone possesses.

While gathering experience through clerking and private practice, Gooch knew that giving back to her profession was something she desired. Serving as a good example and helping young attorneys become successful have become staples in her career.

“Anything I have accomplished is because of other lawyers in the community and state,” said Gooch. “I feel like giving back to the profession was really good for me as I knew I wanted to give back the same support that was afforded to me.”

She also seeks to engage future legal professionals by making time to speak to students and other community groups about her role on the supreme court.

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor Hahn DeBoef Government Relations and our Seasonal Gold Sponsor Missouri State University.


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