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Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (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.


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 or law practice management, 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.

The subject matter does not need to deal primarily with Northwest Territories or Canadian law. Credit is available for subject matter related to the law of other jurisdictions.

The following activities will not be approved:​

  • activity designed for or targeted primarily at clients;
  • pro bono activities whether for clients or other parties; and
  • activities repeated within the same calendar year.

Credit is available for the following activities:

  • Participation in courses
  • Participating in online “real time” courses, streaming video, web and/or teleconference courses, if there is an opportunity to ask and answer questions; or
  • Reviewing a previously recorded course with at least one other lawyer or a student at law, including by telephone or other real-time communications technology (this must be recorded as a study group, see below).
  • Law Society and Canadian Bar Association section meetings or educational programs
  • The actual time spent attending an educational program or section meeting, excluding any portion of the meeting that is not devoted to educational activities. 

Study groups

Where at least two lawyers or a lawyer and articling student are together for educational purposes (including reviewing a recorded program) at the same time (including by telephone or other real time communications technology);

Attendance at an editorial advisory board meeting for legal publications and on legal reform groups is included, provided it is not part of your regular employment;

No credit is available for work on individual client files.


Teaching a legal course or professional education course to an audience that includes as a principal component, the general public, lawyers, paralegals (who are employed or supervised by lawyers) and/or articling students but not targeted primarily at clients;

Credit is only available for the first time the teaching activity is performed in the reporting year;

Credit is available for volunteer or part-time teaching only, when it is not a regular feature of the lawyer’s employment.


Writing books or articles intended for publication and relating to the study or practice of law or to be included in course materials for any audience;

Actual time spent writing, to a maximum of six hours, can be claimed for any writing project;

Credit is available for volunteer or part-time writing only, and not for writing that is done as a part of the lawyer’s regular employment.


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 Rule 70 of the Rules of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories.