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FAQs

Membership Renewals

Do I have to renew my membership?
All members must either renew as an active or inactive member, or resign. Failure to submit necessary renewal fees and documents, or to submit a written request for resignation to the Executive, will result in an automatic suspension without notice [Rule 56]. If a membership remains suspended for a period of five (5) years, that member is struck from the Roll [Rule 73(1)].

How do I renew as an Inactive (or non-practicing) member?
Members wishing to change their status to inactive (non-practising) are required to provide written notice to the Executive of the Law Society indicating your intent to cease practice and your planned disposition of files and valuables related to your practice [Rule 58(1)]. As well, all members renewing as inactive members must submit the required fees and forms.

How do I renew as an Active (or practicing) member?

Members wishing to change their status to active (practising) are required to apply for active membership [Rule 53(1), 53(2)]. For more information, please see "Change of Status (to Active)" on the Applications page.

How do I retire my membership with the Law Society?
Any member wishing to resign as a member may submit his or her request to the Executive of the Law Society. On acceptance by the Executive, the member will be recorded as retired. [Act s.15(1), Rule 59(1)] NOTE: Members who have resigned and wish to resume their practice in the NWT at a later date will have to apply as a full member.

Membership Applications

What type of membership should I choose?
A lawyer handling one case for one client should obtain a Restricted Appearance Certificate. Lawyers who foresee working on more than one case, or with more than one client, should become a full member. Contact the Law Society now for assistance with selecting a membership type.

How do I get called to the Bar?
Once your application for membership is approved by the Law Society Executive, a Certificate of Entitlement is issued and delivered to you and to the Yellowknife Courthouse. You then have one year from the date of entitlement to swear your oath in front of a judge. As tradition dictates, a member of the Bar is required to introduce you to the Bench and Bar. If none of your colleagues are able to introduce you, the Law Society can assist you in finding a member. Calls are made by appointment throughout the year. Contact the Yellowknife Courthouse at 1-866-822-5864 to schedule your call.

The Society

Is the Law Society publicly funded?
The Law Society is independently funded by its members through membership fees and other registration fees. It does not receive funding from any third party, including the government (and the public).

Lawyer Referral Service

Who uses the Lawyer Referral Service?
The LRS is designed to help people find a lawyer when they do not know any lawyers or when they are looking for a lawyer to assist them in a particular area of law. The LRS is made possible though the co-operation of the legal profession. There is no fee charged by the Law Society for lawyers to participate in the Service, or for clients to use the Service. The Service is not available to Legal Aid clients.

How does the Lawyer Referral Service work?
Lawyers list the areas of law of their choice. The Law Society has set up a directory to assist clients in locating a lawyer in the area of law that they require. Lawyers will then receive referrals that are consistent with their preferred areas of practice.

How will the lawyer know if a referral has been made?
The lawyer will only know if he has been contacted as a result of the LRS if the client advises them. Clients will be advised that they should notify the lawyer on contact, that they received the information through the LRS.

What if the client does not contact the lawyer?
Whether or not the client follows through with the contact is at the discretion of the client. There is no obligation on the part of the client to contact the lawyer.

What if I prefer to communicate in a language other than English?
Some lawyers are fluent in languages in addition to English. The client should inquire about their language of preference and other special communication requirements when they initiate contact with the lawyer.

Professional Development

What is considered Professional Development?
Professional development is any educational activity that is relevant and beneficial to a lawyer\'s professional needs, pertinent to the long-term career interests of a lawyer, in the interests of the lawyer\'s employer, and/or related to the professional ethics and responsibilities of lawyers. For a more detailed explanation of the Law Society’s criteria for CPD activities, please visit the Law Society website.

What does Mandatory CPD mean to me?
Mandatory CPD is the requirement for all active members to participate in a set amount of educational activities as a requisite to their membership. The Rules of the Law Society state that members are required to participate in 12 hours worth of CPD (as defined by the Law Society), including 2 hours focused on legal ethics and professional responsibility. Mandatory CPD directly affects each member’s standing with the Law Society. The failure to fulfill any requirements set by the Law Society may result in administrative and/or disciplinary action.

Where can I find the rules regarding Mandatory CPD?
The Rules of the Law Society includes a section on “Continuing Professional Development,” starting at Rule 70. The Rules can be found on the Law Society website, or by contacting the Law Society directly.

I am an Active Member, but I have been on maternity/paternity leave, disability leave, sick leave, vacation, or otherwise away from the practice of law for an extended period. Am I required to fulfill the Law Society’s CPD requirements?
All active members are required to fulfill the requirements, and to submit a report each year. However, active members who have not practiced (or are not practicing) law for an extended period of time may make a request to the Executive to waive, fully or partially, the requirements for that year. For more information on this process, visit the Law Society website.

I am a member of another law society with Mandatory CPD. Am I required to take additional courses to satisfy your requirements?
CPD requirements in the NWT are not in addition to mandatory CPD requirements found in other jurisdictions. Activities reported to other jurisdictions are also applicable in the NWT.

Can I use activities from other years to fulfill my requirements?
Mandatory CPD is an annual measurement of development and competency, with the minimum standards outlined in the Rules. Members cannot transfer or bank hours from previous years to fulfill the minimum requirements for any given year.

I will be changing my membership status from Inactive to Active. Am I obligated to submit a report and plan?
Mandatory CPD is only applicable to active members of the Law Society. As such, inactive members are not expected to fulfill the Mandatory CPD requirements. However, members returning to active status (from inactive status) are required to complete the Plan portion of the CPD Report & Plan for the upcoming membership year.

I will be changing my membership status from Active to Inactive. Am I obligated to submit a CPD Report & Plan?
Members are required to fulfill the Mandatory CPD requirements for the years in which they are active. Therefore, members wishing to change their status to inactive are still required to submit a CPD Report for their active year. The CPD Plan is not necessary.

Why do I have to complete a report AND a plan?
The Northwest Territories is unique in being the only jurisdiction that requires both a plan and a report. The report is the Law Society’s direct method of tracking and recording each member’s completed CPD requirements. The plan is considered equally as important as the report, for both the member and the Law Society. The plan is a self-directed guideline for each member to achieve his or her goals with regard to professional development. As well, the plan provides the Law Society with key information that may be useful when organizing or making available relevant educational programs.