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New lawyers applying for or being exempt from insurance

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I have recently been called to the bar in Ontario. Do I need to purchase coverage from LAWPRO?

All lawyers engaged in private practice are mandated by the Law Society of Ontario to purchase coverage from LAWPRO. If you are going to practise after your call to the bar, please complete a New Applicant Application form.

If you are not in private practice and meet certain criteria, you are likely exempt from the mandatory insurance requirement . If you will not be practising immediately after your call, you must complete an Application for Exemption. Please note that you must wait until you receive your LSO number before you can submit your application for insurance or application for exemption form.

I was called to the bar and worked at a law firm for a few months. Can I claim exemption now that I am no longer working?

To qualify for an exemption you must maintain your practice coverage for a period of at least 30 consecutive days. This requirement is pursuant to Part IV, Condition N (Cancellation and Exemption) of the Policy.

If you worked at the firm less than 30 days, premiums are owed by you for a period of time after the you left the law firm to fulfil the 30-day requirement. You may then be eligible to apply for exemption.

I plan to restrict my practice to criminal law. As a new call in my first year I am entitled to a discount equal to 50 per cent of the base premium and a similar discount because I am restricting my area of practice to criminal law. Does that mean I get a discount equal to 100 per cent of the base premium this year?

No. The maximum combined discount allowed (for the new practitioner discount, the restricted area of practice discount or the part-time discount) is equal to 50 per cent of the base premium.

I am a new call and I have been offered a position to work as a law clerk at a firm. Do I need to purchase the practice coverage?

If you are hired to work as a law clerk, legal assistant or other support staff member; are not held out to be acting as a lawyer to clients or the public (on letterhead or business cards); and are acting under the supervision of an insured lawyer, you may be eligible for exemption.

To maintain this exemption status, you must ensure that:

  • your name does not appear on firm letterhead as a lawyer;
  • any business card you have makes no reference to you as a lawyer;
  • you are not held out to be acting as a lawyer in any expressed or implied terms; and
  • your employer confirms in writing that you have been hired in the capacity of a “non-professional” support staff member (in your case, a law clerk), that you will not be held out to be acting as a lawyer to clients or the public, and that you will be acting under the supervision of professional staff members.

Am I entitled to the New Lawyer discount if I practised in a foreign country for many years prior to being called to the bar in Ontario?

No. Even though you are a recent call in Ontario, you previously practised law for many years in another jurisdiction. The “new lawyer” discount is available to Ontario lawyers based upon the whole of their past years in private and/or public practice, regardless of jurisdiction.

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