By Melanie Hodges Neufeld
The Law Society Library, along with the rest of the legal community in Saskatchewan, is mourning the loss of Justice Frank Gerein who passed away Sunday. In 2007, Justice Gerein was featured in Ian Mentiplay’s book celebrating the Law Society’s centennial, A Century of Integrity: The Law Society of Saskatchewan 1907 to 2007:
Born in Regina in 1939, William Francis “Frank” Gerein received his early education at St. Joseph’s School, Regina. In 1955, his father Anthony Gerein, was appointed a judge of the District Court at Humboldt. He obtained his secondary education a short distance from Humboldt at St. Peter’s College at Muenster, Saskatchewan. His experience there taught him a lot about industry, perseverance and self-discipline, which was to stay with him all of his life. He then attended the University of Saskatchewan, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in 1960 and Bachelor of Laws in 1963.
Gerein’s articling period was spent with the firm of Noonan, Embury, Heald, Molisky and Gritzfeld. Following his admission to the Law Society of Saskatchewan on July 2, 1964, he practised with the firm until the end of 1965 when he joined the firm of Gerrand and Gerrand. For the next 15 years, he was engaged in general practice with emphasis primarily on criminal litigation and some civil litigation. In 1972, the firm Gerrand, Gerrand & Gerein joined with the Goodall, McLellan firm. A short time later, both William J. Goodall and Ernest Gerrand died and the firm became known as Gerrand, Gerein & McLellan.
A major change in his career occurred in 1980 when, following in his father’s footsteps, he was appointed a judge of the District Court for Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. His tenure on the District Court was brief. Following the amalgamation of the courts, he was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench on July 1, 1981.
In 1982, Gerein was appointed to the Legal Education and Scholarships Committee of the Law Society as the representative of the judiciary. When the Saskatchewan Legal Education
Society (SKLESI) was incorporated in 1993, he was an appointee of the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Bar Association, Saskatchewan Branch, along with Madam Justice Georgina Jackson, Mel Annand and John Comrie. He served as director until 1998, when he was replaced by Mr. Justice Robert Laing. During his second term, from 1997 to 1999, he was vice-president of SKLESI. In January 2001, he received SKLESI’s award of excellence for legal education development, which recognizes significant contributions to the development of the philosophy and direction of legal education. He has been involved in legal education development since the 1980s, participating in seminars and lecturing at the bar admission course.
In 2000, Gerein was appointed chief justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench. Although the office of chief justice has a number of administrative responsibilities, he was successful in balancing administration and court work, which he enjoys. He tried to sit in court two weeks each month, and in each judicial centre once a year. This gave him an opportunity to meet with the local bar and enabled the bar and court house staff to realize the office of the chief justice covers the whole province, not just the city of Regina. He believed that it is important to be part of the community. He retired as chief justice in 2005, but has continued to serve as a supernumerary judge.
Gerein takes a very keen interest in the legal profession, being a regular attendee at the meetings and functions fo the Law Society, Canadian Bar Association and Regina Bar Association.