Lawyers and Students
Christine Johnston, CPLED Program Director
The Law Society is pleased to announce that Matthew Klinger and Nicholas Koltun have each received the Award of Distinction, having achieved the highest marks of students registered in the 2016-2017 CPLED Bar Admissions Program.
Nicholas completed three years towards a Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology and Pharmacology before beginning his law degree. He graduated with his Juris Doctor in 2016 from the University of Saskatchewan and is currently completing his articles at MacBean Tessem in Swift Current.
Matthew received his Bachelor of Business Administration with great distinction from the University of Regina in 2013 and his Juris Doctor with distinction from the University of Western Ontario in 2016. He articled with MLT Aikins in Regina and is now a member of their litigation team.
Congratulations to Nicholas, Matthew and all students who completed the 2016-2017 CPLED program!
Kelly Laycock, Publications Coordinator
Saskatchewan lawyers Benedict Feist and Eleanore Sunchild are helping in the fight to gain heritage status for the graveyard at the Battleford Industrial School, a former residential school site that operated from 1883–1914. Hundreds of Indigenous students attended the school during that time, but not all of them survived it.
The cemetery was opened in 1884 because of student deaths at the school. Tuberculosis and influenza, among other illnesses, were an issue at that time.
The cemetery was almost forgotten, until a group of archaeology students and staff from the University of Saskatchewan took an interest and excavated more than 70 graves. Fifty bodies were identified as students named in school records. At that time, a small memorial was erected to commemorate those students.
But the cemetery is once again the topic of conversation, as it was named in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s report in 2015:
Many of the cemeteries in which students were buried have long since been abandoned. When the Battleford school in Saskatchewan closed in 1914, Principal E. Matheson reminded Indian Affairs that there was a school cemetery that contained the bodies of seventy to eighty individuals, most of whom were former students. He worried that unless the government took steps to care for the cemetery, it would be overrun by stray cattle. Such advice, when ignored, led to instances of neglect, with very distressing results. [footnotes omitted]
Ben and Eleanore, along with members of First Nations communities in the area and the Battlefords’ Historical Society, are spearheading a commemorative project after reading the recommendations of the TRC’s Calls to Action Report. The group held a public information session at the North Battleford Public Library on May 3 to outline the history of the school and the cemetery site, and there seems to be community support in pursuing the project.
The goal is to have the graveyard and cairn recognized with official cemetery status, and Ben wants permanent preservation, protection and accessibility of this and other residential school cemeteries in the Battlefords area.
“I would like it to be a historical site, so that it’s preserved and it can be used for educational purposes,” Eleanore told the Battlefords News-Optimist in an article from May 8, 2017. “There’s a lot of schools that want to see it because it is part of the whole history regarding residential schools and calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, so it is something that is important to the community.”
They have a lot of work yet to do, and they want local First Nations communities and residential school survivors to lead the movement. The information session was a good first step in bringing awareness to their project and the importance of recognizing the legacy left from residential schools, which goes beyond just the Battlefords region.
“It is very important because we all suffer the effects of Indian residential schools, whether we are native or non-native,” Eleanore says. “We deal with the intergenerational effects in our society. We see it in this community. I think there is a divide between our people, and a lot of that stems from the schools.”
To read more about the cemetery and the importance of preserving it, please see an article by Eleanore Sunchild and Benedict Feist, published on page 10 of the Summer Issue of the Benchers’ Digest.
 Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials, in The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Vol. 4 (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2015), 10.
 Quoted from “Battleford Industrial School cemetery project discussed” by John Cairns, in Battlefords News-Optimist, May 8, 2017.
It is that time of the year again! The students who have completed the Bar Admissions Program will be eligible for admission as lawyers. Those admitted will be required to sign the roll at the Law Society. The Law Society of the North-West Territories started in 1898 with 186 members on the roll. The Law Society of Saskatchewan continued to use this roll until 1911 when a new parchment roll book was procured. The first name entered in the parchment roll is Amédée Emmanuel Forget, the last Lieutenant Governor of the North-West Territories and the first Lieutenant Governor of the Province of Saskatchewan. The benchers hoped that every barrister and solicitor in the province would come to sign the roll. It remained open for one year after which the secretary was instructed to “cause the names of any members who have not signed to be engrossed on the roll in distinctive characters not liable to be mistaken for autograph signatures.” As a result, some early names appear in pencil in the roll. In December 1912, the benchers passed a resolution to create a rule making it a requirement of admission to actually sign the roll.
Signing Roll – Rule amended
Moved by Mr. Acheson seconded by Mr. Black that no one be admitted as barrister and solicitor until he actually signs the roll; and that the declaration of nonpractise required by the Rules be taken at the time of signing the roll and that the rules be amended accordingly. Carried Unanimously.
The same 1911 roll is still in use today. It has space for 13,000 signatures. Students can sign the roll in ballpoint pen or a dip pen and ink.
From Saskatchewan Lawyers’ Insurance Association
SLIA is pleased to announce that David J. McCashin has accepted the position of In-house Counsel, taking over from Tim Brown. Dave has extensive experience in the areas of litigation and insurance and will begin on January 23, 2017.
Dave holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree from the University of Regina, and received his Bachelor of Laws in 1989 from Queen’s University. After being admitted to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1990, Dave practiced with McKercher LLP for 20 years as an associate and then as partner, primarily focussing on insurance-related litigation, before becoming Defence Counsel with the Co-operators Life Insurance Company in 2010. In 2012 he moved to Saskatchewan Government Insurance and worked for the next five years as Senior Counsel.
We would like to extend a warm welcome to Dave McCashin and wish him the best of luck in his new role at SLIA.
Fifteen Saskatchewan lawyers have been recognized with the honourary Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) designation.
- William Burge, Senior Crown Prosecutor in the Public Prosecutions Division, Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice in Regina. He was admitted to the bar in 1985.
- Christopher Donald, a lawyer with the Robertson Stromberg law firm in Saskatoon. He was admitted to the bar in 2000.
- Paul Elash, a lawyer with the Kohaly, Elash & Ludwig law firm in Estevan. He was admitted to the bar in 1978.
- Timothy Epp, Senior Crown Counsel in the Civil Law Division, Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice. He was admitted to the bar in 1985.
- Glen Gardner, Assistant Deputy Minister, Justice Innovation, Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice. Effective January 16, 2017 he has been appointed as the Deputy Minister of Justice and Deputy Attorney General. He was admitted to the bar in 1981.
- Collin Hirschfeld, a lawyer with the McKercher law firm in Saskatoon. He was admitted to the bar in 1998.
- James Korpan, a lawyer with the McDougall Gauley law firm in Regina. He was admitted to the bar in 1993.
- Valerie Macdonald, a lawyer with Farm Credit Canada in Regina. She was admitted to the bar in 1986.
- Mary McFadyen, Ombudsman for Saskatchewan. She was admitted to the bar in 1985.
- Bonnie Missens, a lawyer with the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority in Saskatoon. She was admitted to the bar in 1992.
- James Morrison, a lawyer with the McDougall Gauley law firm in Saskatoon. He was admitted to the bar in 1983.
- Drew Plaxton, a lawyer with Plaxton Jensen Lawyers in Saskatoon. He was admitted to the bar in 1977.
- Leah Schatz, a lawyer with the MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman law firm in Saskatoon. She was admitted to the bar in 1994.
- James Vogel, a lawyer with the Richmond Nychuk law firm in Regina. He was admitted to the bar in 1989.
- Valerie Watson, a lawyer with The W Law Group in Saskatoon. She was admitted to the bar in 1988.
For more information, please see the Government of Saskatchewan news page.
During the First World War, all Law Society members who enlisted for active service were deemed to have paid their annual fees and continued in good standing until they resumed practice. In 1918, 77 of 496 lawyers on the roll and 158 of 302 students-at-law were enlisted for active military service. A roll of honour was proposed for all Law Society members and students-at-law who served in the Great War. Scottish born Regina artist James Henderson was commissioned to create the paintings.
There was a marked reduction in the membership and activities of the Law Society during the Second World War. Many law students joined the army without completing their degree. Almost 20% of the law graduates enlisted, most of them as officers. The annual meeting of the Law Society was cancelled in 1942 and 1945 because of wartime restrictions on travel. All editorial work of the Saskatchewan Bar Review (renamed Saskatchewan Law Review in 1967) were taken over by the Faculty of Law in 1943 at the request of the benchers as both editors, David Tyerman and Stuart Thom, were on active service. In 1946, the Law Society’s secretary prepared a list of all enlisted members and students-at-law “in order that a correct and permanent record be kept”.
The Justicia Project was developed in Ontario by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2008 as a partnership between the law society and law firms to work collaboratively to share best practices, develop resources and adopt proactive programs to support the retention and advancement of female lawyers in private practice. The Project was driven by recognition that, while women are entering the legal profession and private practice in record numbers, the statistics across the country show that they also leave private practice in disproportionate numbers. Saskatchewan’s demographics are not unlike those of the rest of Canada: although a recent study conducted at the University of Saskatchewan revealed that 49% of law students are women, only 37% of the active lawyers in Saskatchewan are women. Further, of those women, only 53% are in private practice, as compared to 71% of male lawyers.
The Saskatchewan Justicia Project was introduced in November of 2014. The Law Society asked for volunteers from large firms in Regina and Saskatoon to participate in working groups that would develop guidelines and/or model policies on topics of their choosing. Members of 14 Saskatchewan law firms volunteered to develop resources for the Project and four working groups were established, focussing on the following topics: family leave, flexible working arrangements, mentorship/work environment and data collection.
The data collection working group designed and conducted two surveys of the membership. The first was directed at firms and focussed on finding out about the types of policies – particularly those respecting the topics chosen by the other working groups – that Saskatchewan firms currently have in place. The second was a survey that was sent to all members of the Law Society and focussed on the three topics chosen by the Saskatchewan Justicia Project participants.
The survey results were used by the other Justicia Project working groups to guide the resources they developed, but these results can be used to inform further work as well, whether by the profession or the Law Society. The Justicia Committee will use the results to identify areas where further work might be necessary, and Saskatchewan firms and other legal work places are also encouraged to use the results of these surveys to identify areas which may need improvement in their own work places.
The remaining working groups have been drafting guidelines and model policies relating to their chosen topics that aim to support the retention of both men and women in private practice. While the Justicia Project was started as an initiative focussing on retaining and supporting women in private practice, the Saskatchewan participants felt that the topics they were focussing on could apply to men as well.
The ultimate goal of the Justicia Project is to create better work arrangements for both lawyers and firms. Having clear guidelines on these important topics facilitates openness and creates more certainty and predictability which should, in turn, foster long-term working relationships. Implementing the resources developed through the Justicia Project can help firms to develop proactive programs respecting career development which can help them to both recruit and retain lawyers.
All Saskatchewan firms and other legal workplaces are encouraged to review the guidelines and model policies on the Law Society website and consider implementing parts or all of them. Firms that commit to either implement the materials developed by the Saskatchewan Justicia Project or review their existing policies to ensure that they are substantially similar to the model policies developed by the Saskatchewan Justicia Project will be permitted to identify themselves as Justicia Firms. More resources are being developed with respect to mentorship and work environment, and further initiatives may take place once those materials are complete. Please contact Barbra Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on becoming a Justicia Firm.