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E&O Insurance >Practice Type >In-House Counsel

Insurance for in-house corporate counsel


By-Law 6 of the Law Society Act requires that all Ontario LAWYERS who practise law in Ontario pay the insurance premium annually, to ensure they have malpractice coverage in place.

However, certain categories of LAWYERS can apply to exempt themselves from paying this premium.


If you are employed by a single EMPLOYER and provide PROFESSIONAL SERVICES only for and on behalf of the EMPLOYER and will not provide legal services to anyone other than the EMPLOYER, you may be eligible for exemption. For details, see Exemption Eligibility.


Maximum of $250,000 per claim/in the aggregate Run-off Coverage for CLAIMS brought against you, as defined in the LAWPRO® Policy

Please note that there is no coverage for PROFESSIONAL SERVICES provided during any period of exemption. The only exceptions to this are with respect to PRO BONO SERVICES provided through an approved pro bono PROFESSIONAL SERVICES program associated with Pro Bono Ontario; certain mentoring services provided pursuant to LAWPRO-approved risk management protocols; and/or certain services as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust, or attorney for property, where coverage has been separately applied for and granted. For more information, beyond that provided below, please contact LAWPRO Customer Service.

pro bono
If you provide pro bono PROFESSIONAL SERVICES through an approved program associated with Pro Bono Ontario, you would continue to be eligible for exemption. You would also have Run-Off Coverage for your approved PRO BONO SERVICES. For details see pro bono.

If you provide pro bono work for not-for-profit organizations (not associated with Pro Bono Ontario), you may continue to qualify for exemption. For details see pro bono.

Premium None.
To apply LAWYERS eligible for exemption must file an Exemption form:
Options to increase coverage limits

Depending on your needs and situation, you can enhance your insurance coverage in several ways:

Increased Run-Off Coverage protection: To increase your Run-Off Coverage protection and/or purchase expanded coverage for certain services yet to be performed as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust, or attorney for property;

Excess Insurance: For an additional layer of protection above $1 million per claim/$2 million aggregate coverage

Standard coverage: $1 million per claim/$2 million aggregate coverage

The standard insurance coverage includes defense cost coverage (to a sublimit of $250,000 per claim and in the aggregate) for claims brought against you by your CORPORATE EMPLOYER. This coverage applies only to services you provided after January 1, 1997. For details, see Endorsement No.11 of the LAWPRO Policy.

As in-house corporate counsel, you may be eligible for the 50 per cent premium discount available to lawyers who meet the part-time practice criteria.


Interpreting the exemption

In-house corporate counsel
To qualify for an exemption, you can provide PROFESSIONAL SERVICES only to your EMPLOYER, as defined under the exemption. You cannot be providing PROFESSIONAL SERVICES in private practice. For example, you would not be able to advise one of your employer's clients about a will or estate matter, undertake litigation for a family friend, or provide real estate-related services to anyone but your own employer.

If you also provide PROFESSIONAL SERVICES to your employer's customers or clients, or to organizations outside the "employer group", you are deemed to be providing these services in private practice and are no longer exempt from paying the premium.

As well, if you provide PROFESSIONAL SERVICES to any other individuals, including family, friends or associates (even on a pro bono basis) you are considered to be in private practice, and must pay the insurance premium.

If you do not qualify for the exemption, but your practice of law is less than 20 hours per week, you may qualify for the part-time practice premium discount.

LAWYERS acting as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust, or attorney for property
As you wind down your private law practice, it may be that you are named or act as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust or attorney for property, even though the rest of your practice is being turned over to one or more LAWYERS who remain in private practice.

If so, you can expect to have certain obligations to the Law Society, even though you may not be required to pay the Law Society's annual fee, including:

  • having to declare to the Law Society such trusteeships or powers of attorney when you change to a non-practising status; and
  • having to file the appropriate exemption forms each year with LAWPRO to confirm that you continue to be exempt from the payment of insurance premium levies.

The criteria under which an in-house corporate counsel, who continues to act as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust or attorney for property, can apply for exemption from payment of insurance premiums and levies, are fully set out in Exemption Eligibility.

Interpreting the exemption
This exemption is available to you, regardless of whether you are acting on a single trusteeship or power of attorney, or a number of trusteeships or powers of attorney.

However, this exemption may not apply to every instance in which you act as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust, and/or attorney for property.

For example, your role as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust, or attorney for property, must be residual work from your past practice in Ontario, which would not be the case where you have only been named as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust or attorney for property only after leaving private practice.

As well, this exemption would not apply to any trusteeship or attorney for property, where you have been named or are acting in respect of a member of your own family. So, for instance, this exemption would not apply to a LAWYER who has never been in practice and acts as estate trustee for a family member. For this purpose, members of the LAWYER'S own family means "related persons" as defined under section 251(2) of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

If these are the only types of occasions in which you have been named or act as estate trustee, trustee for inter vivos trust, or attorney for property in relation to your work as in-house corporate counsel, you would not elect exemption on the basis of eligibility rule (h). Instead, you would simply look to apply for exemption on the basis that you are employed as in-house corporate counsel, as described more fully in the Exemption Eligibility.

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Key DatesMore

September 15, 2017
File your LAWPRO Risk Management Declaration by this date to qualify for the $50 premium discount on your 2018 premium for each LAWPRO-approved CPD program (to a maximum of $100) completed by this date.

On or about October 2, 2017
LAWPRO online filing of Professional Liability Insurance renewal applications for 2018 is expected to begin. If you wish to file a paper application instead of filing online, please note that paper renewal applications will not be automatically mailed out, but it is expected that you will be able to download a 2018 pre-populated paper renewal application from our website starting on or about October 2, 2017.


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