Laine Sklar might be a bit of an overachiever.
In 2000, she graduated from Salpointe Catholic High School, finished her undergraduate degree three years later, and, by 2006, was Marana’s Assistant Town Attorney. Not one to stand still, however, she quickly rose through the ranks to become the Senior Assistant Town Attorney, supervising the Prosecutor’s Office.
It’s at this point that many would pause for breath. Not Laine.
Last week, less than ten years since beginning her law career, the Town Council appointed her as the new Magistrate. As a judge, she will now oversee Marana’s municipal court and issue rulings on misdemeanors, traffic violations, and other breaches of Town ordinances.
“I am eager to serve the Town in this new capacity,” announced soon-to-be-Judge Sklar to the Council shortly after they unanimously approved her appointment. Her measured tones already underscored a nascent judicial demeanor.
Laine first came to southern Arizona when she was in fourth grade. Prior to settling down, her father’s career in radio had moved the family across the country. When they came to Arizona, though, they knew they’d found a home. Ever since, Laine has found it difficult to resist the draw of the Sonoran Desert, so it was no surprise when she went on to the University of Arizona, earning her bachelor’s degree in Communications. She left Arizona for one year to study law at the University of Connecticut, but after realizing how much she missed home, she returned to finish her degree at U of A’s Rogers School of Law.
In many ways, Laine does not conform to the typical stereotypes of a judge. As Marana’s first female Town Magistrate, she hopes to expand understanding of the judicial system so that those who come into contact with it will be less intimidated by its grandiosity. One way she intends to accomplish that goal is by participating in community service efforts to increase residents’ familiarity with the legal system.
“People who interact with judicial officers outside of the courtroom are far more likely to be satisfied with their interactions within the justice system,” she explains, citing a recent Supreme Court study.
By fostering these kinds of relationships, she hopes not only to build a sense of awareness of Marana’s court, but also to enable disadvantaged litigants to better navigate its many pathways, especially since many of them appear before the court without legal counsel.
Though Laine’s commitment to public service manifests itself today in her legal career, it is not where it began. Her mother spent much of her career working in nonprofits, and passed that same dedication to social justice on to Laine.
As a child, Laine dreamed of becoming a veterinarian, but when she realized her interests lay less in science, and more in reading and writing, a guidance counselor suggested she consider a career in law. There, she has found a natural home, both professionally and personally. As Senior Assistant Town Attorney, she handled animal welfare issues. Outside of work, she spends much of her time riding her horse, PJ, and together, they compete in local, state, and even national dressage events. Even though they’re not on her work résumé, Laine and PJ can lay claim to a number of awards and trophies.
On October 1, the future Judge Sklar will officially assume her responsibilities as Town Magistrate. There, she looks forward to using her position as an instrument for spreading transparency and access to the courts.
Those interested in keeping up with her efforts should keep an eye on the Court’s homepage at www.MaranaAz.gov/municipal-court and look out for articles about the Court’s activities in the Marana Newsroom.