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Toledo Legal News - News Judge Singer, the 2007 Recipient of the Order of the Heel has been busy


photo of Judge Arlene SingerAppellate court judge Arlene Singer has worn a number of different hats in her life. Professionally she’s been a Lucas County prosecutor in the civil division, a municipal court judge for over a decade and an appellate court judge since 2002. Not to mention the two years she spent as a state representative in the 117th Ohio General Assembly.
Born and raised in Toledo, Singer knew from an early age that she wanted to be an attorney. Her initial interest in the field was sparked by the old television show, The Defenders, a weekly drama about a father and son lawyer team who took cases which reflected hot button topics of the day. Says judge Singer, “The idea and intrigue of the law, it interested me a lot. Justice too, I’m not sure I really knew what justice was then, I was such a little girl, but there was something about it.” In addition to being inspired by the law dramas on TV, Arlene was also inspired by her grandmother, who took an active part in raising her. “My grandmother was a woman of humor and persistence. When I look for strength I think back and I look to her.” Humor and persistence were too characteristics that would serve her well as a lawyer.
When Judge Singer graduated from the University of Toledo with her J.D., there weren’t a great deal of women practicing law. One of the most prominent however, Justice Alice Resnick, served as a mentor to Singer. Only the second woman elected to the Ohio Supreme Court, Judge Singer remembers that Justice Resnick was a role model and inspiration to many of the new, young female attorneys just beginning to enter the field.
Besides working in private practice, Judge Singer also spent a term in the Ohio legislature as an elected official, an experience Singer remembers as being, “great, just wonderful.” After her term in the congress Arlene Singer went on to spend two years in Lucas County as a civil prosecutor before being appointed to a seat in the Municipal Court in 1990. She kept her seat for 12 years until she ran, and was elected, to the Sixth District Court of Appeals where she currently serves. It’s a position she wouldn’t trade for anything. “I see this as an opportunity to give back to people. Plus, there’s always something to learn. It’s very satisfying in a number of ways.”
Along the way she has been a part of numerous legal organizations, such as the Ohio Women’s Bar Association and the Lucas County Bar Association. More over, she serves on the board of trustees of the Toledo Women’s Bar Association and. is a fellow in the Toledo Bar Association. Additionally, she sits on a number of committees through the Toledo Bar Association, including the admissions committee which interviews law students to qualify them before taking the Bar Exam. A point of pride for Judge singer is her involvement with the TBA’s Color of Justice program, which works with public schools and encourages young students to consider a career in the legal field.
In addition to her local work, Judge Singer also devotes a tremendous amount of time and effort as the vice-chair of the Ohio Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline. As a member of the board, Singer advises the Ohio Supreme Court and makes recommendations regarding disciplinary actions taken against Ohio attorneys. It’s a position which takes a lot of time and carries a lot of responsibility, but Singer finds the task productive and fulfilling. She is currently on her second term with the board.
When she has an hour or so to herself, Judge Singer enjoys getting in a round of golf. “I like golf a great deal. I always wanted to do something outside in nice weather, but I hate gardening. So I golf.”
She also keeps busy maintaining her house. The structure, which is over 100 years old, is located in the Old West End and was recently on display in the Old West End Festival.
In addition to taking care of her three dogs and cats, Arlene Singer is a devoted wife to her husband John, himself a lawyer and retired construction worker. She is also a proud mother to her two adult daughters.
Time for housework and working on her putting is often scarce though, given how hard she works. On top of her job as an appellate judge, her work with the Color of Justice program and her position on the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, Judge Singer has also taken a cue from her old mentor, Justice Resnick, and is now herself a mentor to new lawyers. “There are now a lot of young women practicing law and I like to get their perspective. And sometimes I need to remind them of how we got here.” As a mentor she is also sure to remind young people of the importance of American history, something she wishes everyone would be more aware of. “Our history gives us an understanding of why we have a Bill of Rights, of why we have the laws we have today. Without that understanding we’re sometimes too willing to give up those rights. We don’t understand what a judge does or why we have our justice system.” Judge Singer is also sure to make sure the new lawyers she mentors understand the key to being a great judge, “You have to look at everyone’s point of view and remember that not everyone sees things the same way you do.” Her hard work as a mentor has not gone unrewarded, in May Judge Singer was honored and inducted into the Toledo Junior Bar Association’s Order of the Heel in recognition of all the time she selflessly gives to new lawyers.
Of her job and duties, her involvement with education and mentoring programs, Judge Arlene Singer finds a sense of contentment that goes deeper than just doing good at an important job, “The nice thing is that no matter where people come from and whatever obstacles are in their way, there’s a spirit to everyone. I really just enjoy people.”

Michael Davisson, Toledo Legal News Staff Writer

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