8 Continuing Legal Education/Continuing Professional Development Materials


Many Canadian law societies have a mandatory professional development component, often measured in a certain number of hours per year:

  • Law Society of Ontario: “Lawyers and paralegals who are practising law or providing legal services must complete in each calendar year at least 12 CPD Hours in Eligible Educational Activities consisting of a minimum of 3 Professionalism Hours on topics related to professional responsibility, ethics and/or practice management and up to 9 Substantive Hours per year.”
  • Law Society of BC: “BC practising lawyers, both full-time and part-time, must complete 12 hours of accredited CPD within the calendar year. At least two of the 12 hours must pertain to any combination of professional responsibility and ethics and practice management.”
  • Law Society of New Brunswick: “All practising members of the Society must complete and report at least 12 approved CPD hours by December 31 each year”

While this is interesting to know for your future in practice, what does it mean for legal research?

CLE/CPD seminars are run by a range of providers, including law school continuing education departments, law societies, local law associations, and commercial providers. These sessions/seminars usually take the form of a lecture/series of lectures by relevant experts (practitioners, council on recent key cases, expert witnesses), and attendance usually includes collection of associated material (papers, case digests, forms and precedents, checklists).

These materials are available to you, online and via law libraries.  They are written by practitioners, for practitioners, and the timeline between a new issue emerging (new SCC case, new legislation, etc) and a responding CLE/CPD can often be measured in weeks, not the months or years it may take an article to appear in an academic journals or book to be issued in a new edition.

Continuing professional development/continuing legal education materials are timely and eminently practical. Use CLE/CPD to find material on recent developments in the law, to stay up to date (current awareness), and when you need practical advice or material. If your question starts with “how do I…” or “when should I…” or “what are the newest development in…” then CLE/CPD are a great possible source of information These seminars and their materials are offered by a range of vendors. The most accessible, and most prolific include:

  • AccessCLE: All LSO CPD since 2004, available for free. It can be a challenge to search, so when possible, use LSO Great Library catalogue instead
  • OBA/CBA: These materials are available in print at most Courthouse libraries, and via the Great Library.
  • PracticePro: Free, and also offers a great range of other free practice resources as well.
  • Advocates’ Society: In addition to CPD/CLE available for purchase, this organization also offers a broad range of free “best practices” material.

To find relevant CLE/CPD materials, in addition to browsing the above sources, search the Index to Canadian Legal Literature, which indexes CLE/CPD from most major providers, or library catalogues that belong to libraries focused on practitioners, such as law societies (such as LSO Great Library catalogue) or courthouse libraries.


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Legal Research - A Practical Perspective Copyright © 2022 by Meris Bray is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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