Judge Ronda Cortesini has announced she will seek another term as Associate Circuit Judge, Probate Division, for Pulaski County.

Judge Ronda Cortesini has announced she will seek another term as Associate Circuit Judge, Probate Division, for Pulaski County.

She is the first female associate circuit judge in the history of Pulaski County.

Before serving on the bench, Cortesini was a trial lawyer for 20 years, the last 10 in Pulaski County. Her work was primarily in family practice, advocating for parents and improving the lives of their children. She also served as a court-appointed guardian ad litem.

"My life experiences as well as my representation of both children and parents has given me a better understanding of the issues and concerns a family has during conflict," she said. "I empathize with the families who appear before me."

She was also elected to serve as the 25th Judicial Circuit Family Court Administrative Judge. In that role, Cortesini oversees the Unified Family Court.

Since taking office, Cortesini has improved the efficiency of the court process in her effort to dispose of cases fairly and swiftly. In family law cases, she implemented scheduling orders, requiring attorneys and parties to address difficult issues early in their cases and to participate in alternative dispute resolution. This has helped many parties settle their cases without trial or, when necessary, to expedite the trial process. Because she also believes in promoting civility in the legal profession, she has proposed a local rule, which was adopted by the circuit, requiring attorneys to attempt to resolve discovery disputes before pursuing them in court. In continuing her efforts to improve the court system and its service to the community, Cortesini serves as the family court liaison for the guardian ad litem committee, which develops standards and training for the attorneys who represent children in the circuit.

Judge Cortesini strongly believes in protecting children and building families. As the juvenile court judge, she has consistently met federal time standards for establishing permanent plans for children removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. As the county's probate judge, Cortesini supervises hundreds of estates for disabled and incapacitated citizens. She also can be found educating senior citizens in the community about elderly abuse and exploitation issues.

Judge Cortesini has always been actively involved in the community. She currently serves on the Habitat for Humanity board and supports the Free Women’s Center. Cortesini also has actively supported growth in the community, serving as president and vice-president on the Waynesville-St. Robert Chamber of Commerce board of directors. She continues to attend community events in support of local charities and military organizations.

Professionally, Judge Cortesini has sought to improve herself and the legal profession by joining professional organizations and attending the specialized training they provide. She is a member of the Missouri Association of Associate & Probate Judges (MAAPJ), Missouri Association of Juvenile Justice Professionals, American Bar Association Judicial Division, and National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ). She is licensed to practice law by the Supreme Courts of Missouri and Texas, and United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri.

Judge Cortesini was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas before moving permanently to Missouri and has served her country in the United States Army, Texas Army National Guard, and Army Reserves, as a non-commissioned officer and as a military attorney in the Judge Advocate General Corps. She attended La Pietra Hawaii School for Girls and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Texas State University. Cortesini received her Juris Doctorate with honors from South Texas College of Law, where she was awarded the Amercian Jurisprudence award for earning the highest grade in Ethics.