Lawyers and Students

Legal Services Provider Consultation

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By Barbra Bailey, Policy Counsel
Law Society of Saskatchewan

The Ministry of Justice and the Law Society of Saskatchewan have jointly undertaken a project to explore the possibility of allowing non-lawyers to provide some legal services in Saskatchewan.  A Task Team – comprised of lawyers, individuals working in the legal system who are not lawyers and members of the public – has been appointed to examine this issue and develop recommendations for consideration by the Benchers and the Ministry about the appropriate role, if any, of non-lawyers in the provision of legal services.  In carrying out its mandate, the Task Team will consider a wide range of possible approaches and will keep the public interest central to its determination.  For more information about the Task Team, a press release can be viewed here.

An extensive consultation with legal organizations and other stakeholders within Saskatchewan’s justice system is currently underway.  A consultation paper describing the project and the mandate of the Task Team can be found here.  Any groups or individuals wishing to make a submission on this topic may contact the Task Team by email at

CPLED Smarties Received Award of Distinction

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Nicholas Koltun

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 Klinger

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!

The Efforts of Two Saskatchewan Lawyers to Preserve the Battleford Industrial School Cemetery

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Kelly Laycock, Publications Coordinator

A cairn at the Battleford Industrial School in Battleford, SK, erected in 1975 after more than 70 unmarked graves were excavated in the cemetery. (Photo credit: Jim Cairns/Wikimedia Commons)

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[1] 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.”[2]

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.

[1] 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.

[2] Quoted from “Battleford Industrial School cemetery project discussed” by John Cairns, in Battlefords News-Optimist, May 8, 2017.

Signing the Law Society Roll Book

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John Diefenbaker’s signature in the Law Society Roll Book, signed June 30, 1919
Roll Book Spine with Embossed Title

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.

Law Society Benchers Meeting Minutes, December 1912
Law Society Benchers Meeting Minutes, December 1912

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.

New SLIA Counsel

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From Saskatchewan Lawyers’ Insurance Association

davemccashin1casualSLIA 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.


2016 Queen’s Counsel Appointments

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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.

Remembrance (Throwback Thursday)

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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.

Honour Roll of Members of the Law Society enlisted in active military service during World War I, by James Henderson, 1917 (29.75″ width x 20.75″ height)

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”.

Law Society Members in active military service during World War II (15.25″ width x 20.75″ height)