Here are the steps you need to follow if you want to set up a practice in the NWT.
Are you an active member?
If you are going to be practicing in the NWT, you need to be an active member of the Law Society of the NWT.
Are you insured?
If you are going to be in private practice, you must be covered by the mandatory insurance provided by CLIA. The insurance year runs from July 1 to June 30.
You may also want to consider whether you want to apply for excess insurance. Excess insurance is voluntary.
Have you received approval from the Law Society?
Effective January 1, 2020, all new firms, including sole practitioners, in the NWT will require the approval of the Law Society of a Responsible Lawyer. As well, all new firms, including sole practitioners, require the approval of the Law Society to maintain a trust account. (Rule 114). These approvals must be obtained prior to commencing your law practice.
Within four months of obtaining your approval of a Responsible Lawyer, all new firms, including sole practitioners must, along with your accountant, complete a Start Up Report. A Start Up Report is required whether or not you operate a trust account. In addition, you will be required, by September 1 of each year, to provide the Law Society with a Law Firm Self-Report, completed by you and your accountant, for a period ending no earlier than June 1 of the preceding year.
We encourage you to contact the Law Society to discuss these requirements, well in advance of the date you intend to commencing private practice.
Here are other issues you should be aware of as you start your practice:
- Do you need a business license?
- Do you need to register with the WSCC?
- Have you registered with Revenue Canada?
- Do you need a drop box at the Yellowknife Courthouse?