When Foundation Board Member Vallie Bowman-English was the assistant prosecutor for Lucas County, she thought she had found her dream job. She had always been a natural public servant, and the role suited her. As time went on, however, Bowman-English couldn’t help but suggest improvements to the Court’s record-keeping process.

“I kept saying that we needed someone in the Clerk’s office who would understand how important these records are and make sure the public has access to them,” Bowman-English said. “Then somebody asked me, ‘Why don’t you do it?'”

Bowman-English accepted the challenge and was elected Clerk of the Toledo Municipal Court in 2003. As Clerk, she saw her vision through and leveraged technology to make the Court more efficient.

She increased the public’s access to the Court’s records by putting case information online, and, in 2012, she led the launch of a mobile app that allows users to track their court dates and case information. The app, the first of its kind in the country, lets users pay their court fees and gives them the option to submit their filings electronically, allowing for a more efficient and accessible experience.

“By the time you’ve had any contact with the court, you’ve already gone through so much,” Bowman-English said. “The app helps people have a smoother experience.”

Bowman-English is a past president and current member of the Ohio Association of Municipal / County Court Clerks. She is also the chair of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Northwest Ohio.

Outside of her work at the Court, Bowman-English is a community leader. She is a member of the Toledo Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Inc., and is the past president of the Toledo Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. She served the legal community as the 2016-2017 president of the Toledo Bar Association, and as a Foundation board member, she advocates for improved access to justice statewide.

One of the most valuable lessons Bowman-English has taken to heart over the years is to be the change you wish to see, which has undoubtedly taken her far in her career.

“My grandfather always used to say don’t complain about something you aren’t willing to do anything about,” she said. “And it’s because of that I am where I am today.”

The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation’s Board of Directors serves from around the state and is committed to improving access to justice. Meet the Board.