PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced the appointments of Jeffrey Sklar, Lisa Abrams and Gary Cohen to the Pima County Superior Court to fill the vacancies created by the appointment of Judge John Hinderaker to the United States District Court, District of Arizona and the retirement of Judges Gus Aragón and Leslie Miller.
Jeffrey Sklar is a Partner at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, where he has been a commercial litigator since 2010. He represents businesses and business owners in various legal disputes, and he has experience in eminent domain, antitrust, receiverships, and bankruptcy law. He also serves as outside general counsel to the Metropolitan Domestic Water Improvement District and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. In addition, Sklar has been serving since 2018 as a Pima County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem, where he handles civil and family law related settlement conferences.
Before joining Lewis Roca, Sklar practiced at Irell & Manella in Los Angeles, California as a commercial litigator, which included intellectual property litigation. After law school, he clerked for then Justice Scott Bales of the Arizona Supreme Court. Sklar has been repeatedly named to Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List and as a Rising Star by Southwest Super Lawyers.
Sklar dedicates substantial time to pro bono cases through Southern Arizona Legal Aid and Step Up to Justice, focusing on consumer and landlord/tenant issues. In 2019, he was recognized by Southern Arizona Legal Aid as a volunteer of the month and by the Arizona Bar Foundation as one of the top 50 pro bono attorneys in the state. Sklar also serves on the Board of Directors of Interfaith Community Services, a local social services organization devoted to helping people in need achieve healthy, stable and independent lives.
“Jeff’s intellect and dedication to the southern Arizona community will be an asset to the bench,” said Governor Ducey. “I am pleased to announce Jeff’s appointment to the Pima County Superior Court.”
Sklar graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science, minoring in Spanish. He also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. He then received his law degree from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, where he graduated in the top 10% of his class and served as Executive Notes Editor on the Southern California Law Review.
Lisa Abrams has been serving since 2010 as a Commissioner for the Pima County Superior Court. She is currently on the Juvenile bench and has previously served on the Family Law and Probate benches. She also volunteers as a judge for the Juvenile Court's Dependency Alternative Program, which diverts eligible dependency cases out of the traditional dependency route. Abrams also serves on the Pima County Superior Court’s Security Emergency Preparedness Committee and the Arizona Supreme Court’s Commission on Minorities in the Judiciary.
Prior to joining the bench, Abrams was a Partner at Karp & Weiss, where she practiced primarily in the areas of family, juvenile, and school law. Before that, Abrams was legal counsel for the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), for which she handled diverse issues in education, employment, and civil matters. She also provided legal training to thousands of TUSD teachers, administrators, and students.
Abrams began her career at the Pima County Public Defender’s Office, where she handled misdemeanor and felony cases ranging from DUI to murder charges. Abrams also served as a judicial law clerk/bailiff for Pima County Superior Court Judge Michael Brown after graduating from law school.
Among her volunteer work, Abrams devotes substantial time to animal rescue organizations, In the Arms of Angels and Humane Society of Southern Arizona. From 2012 to 2015, she served on the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
“Lisa’s broad experience in the public and private sectors, as well as her judicial experience, will allow her to quickly contribute to the Court,” said Governor Ducey. “I am delighted to announce Lisa’s appointment to the Pima County Superior Court.”
Abrams graduated magna cum laude from Smith College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in Government, minoring in Economics. She then received her law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law.
Gary Cohen is a Partner at Mesch Clark Rothschild where he has practiced since 1993. His current practice includes government defense, personal injury, commercial litigation, employment, and appellate matters. Over his career, he has also handled class actions, vulnerable adult claims, and minor criminal matters. In addition, Cohen has been serving as a Judge Pro Tem for Pima County Superior Court since 2004, as a mediator for civil cases.
From 2011 to 2017, Cohen was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law teaching pre-trial litigation. Cohen was also on the Executive Committee of the State Bar of Arizona’s Appellate Practice Section from 2006 to 2010, including serving as its Chair.
Cohen has been named to Best Lawyers in America and Southwest Super Lawyers since 2017. In 2012, Cohen was named “Best Writer” in a survey of Pima County Bar Association Members.
Cohen has given back to the southern Arizona community for many years. From 2017 to 2019, he was an Honorary Commander at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and he has been an Arizona Local Board Member of the Selective Service System since 2010. Cohen has also served as a board member for several non-profit organizations over the years, including the Children’s Museum Tucson (2011-2017), Make-A-Wish Foundation Southern Arizona (2008-2010), Tucson Fiesta Bowl Committee (2005-2008), and Tucson Jewish Community Center (2003-2009).
“Gary’s commercial experience, including in complex civil cases, will bring a unique perspective and skillset to the bench,” said Governor Ducey. “I am happy to announce Gary’s appointment to the Pima County Superior Court.”
Gary graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. He then received his law degree from the University of Arizona College of Law. During law school, Gary was a member of the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law.