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Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Mandatory CPD provides a means of measuring professional development and competence in the legal profession.  Its purpose is to maintain the public’s confidence in this self-governed profession, and to ensure the public is well served by a legal profession that is independent, responsible and responsive.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is defined as the means by which members of professional associations maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge and skills and develop the personal qualities required in their professional lives. CPD is, as stated by the Chartered Institute of Professional Development, “the conscious updating of professional knowledge and the improvement of professional competence throughout a person's working life. It is a commitment to being professional, keeping up-to-date and continuously seeking to improve. It is the key to optimizing a person's career opportunities, both today and for the future.”


Members are required to complete a minimum of twelve (12) hours of CPD activity, including a minimum of two (2) hours focused on Legal Ethics & Professional Responsibility, during each membership year (April 1st to March 31st).

Time accredited to your CPD must be:

  • relevant to a lawyer's professional needs,
  • pertinent to long-term career interests as a lawyer,
  • in the interests of the lawyer's employer, or
  • related to the professional ethics and responsibilities of lawyers.

The learning activities should combine substantive, technical and practical content.

CPD time can be spent in a classroom setting, by reading legal publications (periodicals, digests and journals), listening to podcasts, watching recorded programs and seminars, or logging onto an online CPD program.  It is each member’s responsibility to determine whether a learning activity meets the criteria set out by the Law Society and, therefore, qualifies as CPD.


Members must complete a CPD Report & Plan as part of their annual membership renewal requirements. The plan portion contains a series of questions aimed at helping members identify their strengths and challenges and their plans for professional development. It also enables the Law Society to see what you and other members would benefit from most when planning future CPD activities and events.  The report portion is matched with your plan from the previous year to further aid the Law Society in identifying members’ needs.  It will serve as evidence of your achievements, your continuing competence and your desire to reach your full professional potential.


Failure to fulfill the Law Society's Mandatory CPD requirements will result in an automatic suspension.

EXTENSIONS:  Members who believe they are unable to fulfill the requirements before the March 31 deadline may request an time extension from the Executive.  Upon receipt of a CPD Report & Plan, a Request for Variance form, and the late completion fee of $250.00, the Executive may grant an extension of up to 90 days to complete CPD requirements for the reported year.  (Any outstanding CPD requirements are then in addition to the requirements for the following reporting year.)


For more information about Mandatory CPD, members are advised and encouraged to review the Rules of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories, starting at rule 70.