As the Administrator and Counsel for the Supreme Court of Ohio Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection, Janet Green Marbley is an advocate and attorney for client rights and protections against unfair treatment. A former member of the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation’s Board of Directors and a current member of the Foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Standing Committee, Green Marbley has devoted her career to protecting the rights of the most marginalized Ohioans.

Green Marbley first became interested in the legal profession as a young person growing up in Columbus during the desegregation era. In high school, she experienced daily racial tension, including frequent physical fights between Black and white students. After witnessing police arrest Black students at school, an experience she described in an interview with the American Bar Association (ABA), Green Marbley decided to become a lawyer.

“I thought that one of the best ways to help people in that situation was to have some sort of legal training,” Green Marbley said. “I decided that’s what I wanted to do; to help those, especially people of color, who had unfair encounters with the legal system.”

Green Marbley achieved her goal in 1979, receiving her law license after graduating from Capital University Law School. As a young attorney, Green Marbley faced discrimination as a Black woman and resistance from her peers, who didn’t want to acknowledge her as an attorney.

“Many times, when I was in court, I was mistaken for the secretary, and I would often have to correct them,” Green Marbley said. “Discrimination on that level definitely still exists today, whether explicit or not.”

Rather than hold her back, the experience further motivated her. Several roles at The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, and Huntington National Bank honed her professional experience; however, it wasn’t until she landed at the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection that she discovered an ideal fit.

“What I found was a great opportunity to help people who had been harmed by dishonest lawyers,” Green Marbley said. “I’ve settled at the Supreme Court because it allows me to both help people and improve the image of the legal profession.”

Green Marbley dedicates much of her spare time to giving back. She is a past president of the National Client Protection Organization, a pro bono volunteer at The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, and a member of the Civil Rights and Social Justice Section of the ABA, where she serves as the liaison to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

More than 30 years into her accomplished legal career, Green Marbley has carved her path in helping to make a difference in the lives of Ohio’s most vulnerable communities, a model for resilience in the face of adversity.

The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation is leading the statewide effort to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in civil legal services. A gift to the Foundation supports this crucial work.