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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, depending on the timing of the leave. There is also a fee exemption for those who qualify based on incapacity.

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 reduction of fees or 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*
1A Sole Practitioner (Sole Owner) 100%
1B Partner in a Professional Business 100%
1C Employee in a Professional Business 100%
1D
Associate in a Professional Business
(practising in the manner of an employed lawyer)
100%
1E Employed in Education 100% or 50%
1F Employed in Government 100% or 50%
1G Otherwise Employed 50%
1H Not Working 25%
1J In-House Lawyer/Paralegal 100%
1K Legal Clinic Lawyer/Paralegal 100%
3H Over 65 (Retired) 10%
3X Over 65 (Retired) with Estates 10%

* 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. Licensees who are paying 50% of the annual fee can still apply to be a Coach or Advisor with the Coach and Advisor Network (CAN) if they meet the eligibility criteria to be a volunteer with CAN.
  • 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. Licensees who are paying 25% of the annual fee can still apply to be a Coach or Advisor with the Coach and Advisor Network (CAN) if they meet the eligibility criteria to be a volunteer with CAN.
  • 10% of Fee - Lawyers and paralegals over 65 years of age and no longer practising law or providing legal services may apply to be approved for the Over 65 (Retired) 10% Annual Fee category and for an exemption from submission of the Annual Report Filing. For a copy of the application and for more information, visit the Application to Pay the Over 65 (Retired) Annual Fee and Exemption from the Requirement to File the Annual Report page.

 

By-Law 5 outlines the requirements for the amount payable and fee payment deadlines. Lawyers and paralegals with a suspended licence are not invoiced for annual fees.

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  calendar month for which parental leave is taken.

Exemption from the Requirement to Pay the Annual Fee Based on Incapacity

Lawyers and paralegals of any age who are not suspended and are incapacitated and unable to meet any of their obligations as a licensee may apply to be exempt from payment of the annual fee and submission of the annual report. 

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 the Annual Report Filing.

To have their licence placed into abeyance, lawyers and paralegals must contact 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 justices of the peace of the Ontario Court of Justice
  • full-time case management masters
  • full-time prothonotaries of the Federal Court of Canada

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 a completed Application to Restore a 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 the Annual Report Filing.

Status Changes

It is the lawyer's or paralegal's responsibility and obligation under By-Law 8 to notify the Law Society immediately of any change in status, including the effective date. Changes reported after the end of the year will not result in a reduction of fees for the previous year. 

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.

Refunds

Lawyers and paralegals in the Over 65 (Retired) 10% Annual Fee category will not be entitled to an adjustment or a pro rated refund if they enter or leave that status during the fee year.

Requests for a refund from licensees in other fee-paying categories 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 or a reduction in fees. A change of status may result in a reduction of fees or a refund only if the Law Society is notified before the end of the fee year.

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.

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