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Fee Categories

A lawyer or paralegal's status and associated category determines whether they are required to pay fees and the amount of the annual fee. Those with a fee-paying status may pay a reduced fee while on parental leave.

There are also fee exemptions for those who qualify based on years of practice, age or incapacity (By-Law 5).

It is the lawyer's or paralegal's responsibility to notify the Law Society immediately following a change in status. A change of status may result in a refund. If the Law Society is notified before the end of the fee year.

Fee-paying Statuses and Categories
There are various fee paying statuses and associated categories, which determine the percentage of the annual fee that is due:

Fee-paying Statuses and Categories
Status Description Applicable Fee Categories*


Sole Practitioner (Sole Owner)



Partner in a Professional Business



Employee in a Professional Business



Associate in a Professional Business
(practising in the manner of an employed lawyer)



Employed in Education

100% or 50%


Employed in Government

100% or 50%


Otherwise Employed



Not Working



In-House Lawyer/Paralegal



Legal Clinic Lawyer/Paralegal

100% or 50%

* Parental leave (25% of Fee) may be applicable to all categories except H. There are no reduced fees for part-time work.

Explanation of Categories

  • 100% of Annual Fee - Lawyers or paralegals who practise law or provide legal services, whether they do so in Ontario or in some other part of the world, including law teachers who practise or provide legal services, or federal, provincial and municipal government, corporate employees and other lawyers or paralegals who provide legal advice, opinions, or services.
  • 50% of Fee - Lawyers or paralegals who work but do not practise law or provide legal services, including those employed in education, in government or in a corporation in a position where they are not required to practise law or provide legal services.
  • 25% of Fee - Lawyers or paralegals who do not engage in any remunerative work and do not engage in the practice of law or provision of legal services, or who are in full-time attendance at a university, college or designated educational facility and not practising law or providing legal services, or who are on pregnancy or parental leave and who do not practise law or provide legal services.

By-Law 5 outlines the requirements for the amount payable and the required due date.

Parental Leave
The Law Society makes special provisions for parental leave, which is defined as leave from employment or practice for reasons of maternity, paternity or adoption. Under this policy, lawyers or paralegals may apply for a reduction in the fee to the 25% category for each full month for which parental leave is taken.

Exemptions from Requirement to Pay the Annual Fee
There are several non-fee paying statuses as a result of exemptions (see below). Additionally, lawyers appointed to judicial office and suspended lawyers or paralegals do not pay fees.

  • Automatic Fee Exemption - 50 years - This status is granted by the Law Society to lawyers and paralegals who have been entitled to practise in Ontario for a continuous period of 50 years. No application is necessary.
  • Fee Exemption at age 65 - Lawyers and paralegals who are 65 years of age and over, and permanently retired from the practice of law or provision of legal services can apply to be exempted from the annual fee under By-Law 5. For a copy of the application and for more information, please click here.
  • Incapacity - Lawyers and paralegals who are incapacitated and therefore unable to practise law or provide legal services may be exempt from the annual fee under By-Law 5. For a copy of the application and for more information, please click here.

Appointment to Judicial Office
Pursuant to section 31(1) of the Law Society Act, lawyers or paralegals may have their licence placed in abeyance under certain situations. While their licence is in abeyance, they are exempt from the payment of the Annual Fee and from the submission of their Annual Report Filing.

To have their licence placed into abeyance, lawyers and paralegals must write to the Law Society's Membership Services department and advise of the date they stopped practising or providing legal services (if applicable) and the date they were appointed, along with any changes to their mailing or contact information. A copy of the Order in Council is also required as proof of the appointment.

Eligible lawyers and paralegals include those who are appointed as:

  • full-time judges of any federal, provincial or territorial court
  • full-time masters of the Superior Court of Justice
  • full-time case management masters, or full-time prothonotaries of the Federal Court of Canada
  • full-time members of the Ontario Municipal Board

Restoration of Licence
Upon ceasing to hold office as described above, any person whose licence is in abeyance may apply to the Law Society to have the licence restored by submitting an original completed Application to Return to Practice When Licence in Abeyance to the Client Service Centre.

Once their licence is restored, lawyers and paralegals become responsible for payment of the Annual Fee and submitting their Annual Report Filing if they return to an active status.

Lawyers or paralegals who are 65 or older may choose to be placed directly into an exempt status if they do not intend to resume the practice of law/provision of legal services.

Status Changes
It is the lawyer's or paralegal's responsibility and obligation to notify the Law Society immediately of any change in status, including the effective date. Changes may be reported by completing and faxing the

Change of Information Form for Lawyers (pdf)
Avis de changement d'information (pdf)

or the

Change of Information Form for Paralegals (pdf)
Avis de changement d'information des parajuristes titulaires de permis (pdf)

or by contacting the Client Service Centre.

Lawyers or paralegals changing from or closing down a private practice will be contacted by the Law Society to confirm the location of client files and status of trust funds. The Law Society receives thousands of calls annually from clients trying to locate their former lawyers/paralegals and their files. The Law Society's status change package is designed to ensure that the Law Society's records appropriately reflect the state of current and former lawyers/paralegals files and client accounts to enable the proper direction of enquiries.

If a lawyer or paralegal becomes entitled to a pro-rata reduction of the fee as a result of a change in status, By-Law 5 provides the formulas for the calculation for the adjustment to the fee. If entitled to a refund as a result of the adjustment, subsection 3 (6) provides that "A licensee shall apply to the Society to claim an entitlement to a refund...". Requests for a refund should be made directly in the Law Society Portal under the “Fees and Payments” portlet.

There is a deadline for making a request for a refund. Subsection 3(7) provides that "An application to the Society under subsection (6) shall be made before the end of the year in respect of which the licensee claims an entitlement to a refund under subsection (5)." Subsection 3(8) provides that "A licensee who does not comply with subsection (7) is not entitled to receive a refund."

In order to protect the interests of lawyers and paralegals, a refund issued to a third party requires the written consent of the lawyer or paralegal.

Please note that refunds can only be issued back to the credit card that the original payment was made from. We are not permitted to issue these refunds to another credit card or by cheque. If payment was made with cash, debit card or internet/telephone bill payment then a refund can be issued with an electronic money transfer (EMT) or through a cheque.