Sheila Pratt, editor of the Law Society’s Gazette from 1987 until 1995, has died aged 81.

Sheila began the process of turning the Gazette into an indispensable source of news by introducing a dedicated news section and later, putting news on the front cover for the first time.  

She also pioneered the use of photographs and cartoons to make the Gazette more visually appealing, in what was becoming a much more competitive business-to-business publishing environment. Sheila subsequently became consultant publisher of the Gazette before her retirement.

Evlynne Gilvarry, now chief executive of the General Dental Council, succeeded Sheila Pratt as Gazette editor. She said: ‘While respecting the tradition of the Gazette as a professional journal, Sheila introduced many beneficial changes that made the weekly more relevant at a time when legal practices were changing rapidly.’

Jonathan Mcleod, chairman UK corporate, financial and public affairs at Weber Shandwick, worked on the Gazette’s newsdesk from 1992-94. He said: ‘Sheila was a force of nature who wanted a strong and independent voice for the profession in the magazine. While she could be viewed as fearsome by some, she was in fact rather kind and genial.’

Current Gazette editor Paul Rogerson said: ‘Sheila began the process of modernising what was already a venerable magazine when she took the helm in those pre-internet days. I am very sorry to hear she has died.’