The Law Society of Saskatchewan’s 26 year old newsletter, Benchers’ Digest, has recently started a new chapter: it has gone totally electronic in August 2014. The first issue of the newsletter was published in January 1988 as a means of communicating with the Law Society members on the activities and decisions of the benchers.
So what did we have before Benchers’ Digest? There was no regular form of communication with the members regarding Law Society business until 1929. That year, the benchers authorized the production of a quarterly report The Law Society’s Gazette. The first issue was published in June 1929. In 1930, Mr. R. J. Maclennan, K.C. of Toronto “drew attention to the good work done in Saskatchewan by The Law Society’s Gazette and strongly recommended the other provinces in Canada to follow suit.” (The Law Society’s Gazette, volume 2, no. 1, December 1931).
The Law Society’s Gazette was a great source of information but there was also a need for involvement of the membership in the affairs of the Law Society. In March 1936, the Saskatchewan Bar Review was launched. The Editorial of issue number one explained the purpose of the publication:
With its members so widely scattered and without the opportunity to meet as a body save at long intervals it is absolutely essential that some means be provided whereby opinions may be expressed and proposals for change or reform given publicity. This paper is being promoted to fill that need.
The Saskatchewan Bar Review was published for 16 years. By 1942, both editors, David Tyerman and Stuart Thom were on active service as naval officers in WWII. Dean Cronkite was appointed as editor. At the request of the benchers, the Faculty of Law took over all editorial work commencing January 1, 1943. Responsibility for publication remained with the Law Society until 1963-64, when the College of Law assumed sole responsibility for the content and publication of the Saskatchewan Bar Review and in 1971-72, the title of the publications was changed to Saskatchewan Law Review.