Meet Nannette BakerNannette has had a complex and rich career history spanning several fields. She is currently Magistrate Judge at the United States District Court in St. Louis and presides over the Janis C. Good Mental Health Court. Prior to her current position, she served as Chief Magistrate Judge from 2016 – 2021. Before she was appointed to the federal court, she served on the Missouri Court of Appeals in the Eastern District of Missouri for six years, where she was Chief Judge from 2008 until 2009. She also served as a circuit court judge in the City of St. Louis before she was appointed to the appellate court. Nannette is the first African American woman to be appointed to that court.
Nannette knew she wanted to be a lawyer from the young age of 10, watching many hours of Perry Mason and developing the beginnings of her love of the field. However, she got “cold feet” when she entered college and was impacted by the fact that she had never met a lawyer that looked like her. Instead of the legal field, she pivoted into broadcast communications and worked as a successful television journalist for 13 years. Her transition out of communications occurred when she moved to Saint Louis and was working for KSDK. Working closely with the Missouri Attorney General, she was in close contact with many lawyers, which reignited her desire to become a lawyer herself.
“Never a dull moment.” This is one of Nannette’s favorite things about being a lawyer. She enjoys the variety that comes with her job, from both civil and criminal cases.
In addition to her work as a judge, Nannette and her colleagues formed the Janice C. Good Mental Health Court to help people who were previously incarcerated successfully re-enter their community. All of the lawyers, judges, social workers, and administrators who support this organization do so on a volunteer basis—they know that there are not enough resources to help individuals with mental health issues, and all too frequently, they end up back in court for other crimes without proper support. In addition to the Janice C. Good Mental Health Court, Nannette is active in the American Bar Association, serving on the Standing Committee for the Gavel Awards. She has previously been the Chair of the National Conference of Federal Trial Judges of the ABA’s Judicial Division and currently serves on the Executive Committee. As if this wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she is also involved with The Links Incorporated, an organization of friendships and service for women of African descent.
A native of Alabama, Nannette spent five years of her childhood in Liberia in West Africa. She is married and lives in a beautiful home that overlooks the Missouri River. She loves photography and often shoots photographs of the sights over the river: the eagles, the mist over the river at sunrise—even the recent eclipse! She is an avid golfer and traveler.
Nannette’s recommendation: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. It’s funny, inspirational, a book you can go back to over and over again.