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Certified Specialists

Notice: On May 26, 2022,  Convocation approved the Competence Task Force's recommendation to wind-down the Certified Specialist Program.  See the Frequently Asked Questions

About the Certified Specialist Program

Becoming a Certified Specialist gives you recognition as a leader in your field. The Certified Specialist Program recognizes lawyer licensees who have met established standards of experience and knowledge requirements in one or more designated areas of law and have maintained exemplary standards of professional practice.  Certification as a specialist in an area of specialization is recognized by the Law Society of Ontario with the “C.S.” designation. This designation shows the public and colleagues in the legal professions that a lawyer is accomplished and has been acknowledged to be so by the Law Society of Ontario.

Certified Specialist Resources


The Standards for Certification are grouped by Areas of Specialization.

Qualifications for Certification

You may submit an Application for Certification when you have:

  • practised for a minimum of 7 years prior to the date of the application;
  • had substantial involvement in the specialty area during 5 of the 7 years, i.e.,
    • mastery of substantive law, practices and procedures; 
    • concentration of practice in the specialty area; and
    • complied with the professional standards requirements

Areas of Specialization

  • Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law
  • Citizenship and Immigration Law 
    (Immigration/Refugee Protection)
  • Civil Litigation
  • Construction Law
  • Corporate and Commercial Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Estates and Trusts Law
  • Family Law
  • Health Law
  • Indigenous Legal Issues
    (Rights and Governance/Litigation and Advocacy/Corporate and Commercial)
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Labour and Employment Law
  • Municipal Law
  • Taxation Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Law

    To review the Standards for Certification for each of these areas of specialization, go to Application Materials.


  • The one-time application fee due at the time of application is $452.00 ($400.00 plus HST). See page 7 of the Application for Certification for details on how to pay this fee.
  • The annual re-certification fee is $423.75 ($375.00 plus HST) and is posted in the certified specialists’ Law Society Portal accounts in December of each year. The fee is due on January 31 of each year.
  • The annual re-certification fee for each additional certificate is $141.25 ($125.00 plus HST)

Renewal of Certification

Certification is renewed on an annual basis by the filing of a Certification Annual Report attesting to compliance with the Administrative Policies Governing the Certified Specialist Program.

Commitment to Equity

The Certified Specialist Program encourages participation from all qualified applicants, without discriminating on the basis of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status or disability. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19, s. 1; 1999, c. 6, s. 28 (1); 2001, c. 32, s. 27 (1); 2005, c. 5, s. 32 (1); 2012, c. 7, s. 1.

Ethical Standards

Certified Specialists must notify the Certified Specialist Program in writing by email at or by regular mail whenever they fail to meet the minimum standards of their area of specialty at any time during their certification. The Certified Specialist Program retains the authority to revoke the specialist status if warranted.

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