Opening a New Law Firm

Opening a new firm

In Nova Scotia, before a new law firm (including sole practice) can start delivering legal services, it must first register with the Society (see Regulation 4.8, effective as of January 2, 2018).

Our goal is to help you set up your legal practice in a way that will help you practise more effectively and avoid risk.

Steps to Opening a Practice

General Instructions

  1. Determine the type of firm you will be opening:
  1. Sole Practitioner – continue with the instructions below,
    Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) – review Section A, below or
    Law Corporation – review Section B. 
  2. Contact the Society to start the New Firm Registration process (see Regulation 4.8, effective as of January 2, 2018). You will be asked to complete and submit to the Society the New Law Firm Registration form and to arrange for a discussion about your practice plans so staff can highlight any relevant regulatory steps and practice considerations that might apply to you.
  3. Review and complete other items listed in the New Practice Checklist.
  4. If relevant, complete the requirements to open a trust account.

Section A – Limited Liability Partnership

  1. Review Part 7 of the Legal Profession Act Regulations.
  2. Review LLP Application Procedures.
  3. Submit Application for a Provincial LLP or an Extra-Provincial LLP to the Society together with the applicable fee.
  4. Receive approval and certification from the Society.
  5. Return to the “General Instructions” above and complete steps 2-4.

Please note that upon approval and certification from the Society, you must also do the following:

  1. Notify the Society within 15 days of any changes to the LLP.
  2. Renew the registration annually with the Society (as per reg. 7.4.13) and submit the applicable fee.

Section B – Law Corporation

  1. Review Part 7 of the Legal Profession Act Regulations.
  2. Ensure the intended name of your corporation complies with regulations 7.5.10, 7.5.11 and 7.5.12.
  3. Review the Law Corporation Procedures.
  4. Apply to the Society for a permit using the Application for a Law Corporation Permit and provide the fee.
  5. Obtain a permit from the Society
  6. Return to the “General Instructions” above and complete steps 2-4.

Please note that upon approval and certification from the Society, you must also do the following:

  1. Notify the Society of any changes in the Corporation within 15 days.
  2. Renew permit annually with the Society by using the Application for Renewal and Annual Statement of Particulars form and submitting the applicable fee.

New Law Firm Registration Form & New Practice Checklist

First, complete and submit to the Society the New Law Firm Registration form. We will then contact you to arrange a discussion about your practice plans and any relevant regulatory steps and practice considerations that might apply to you.  

The New Practice Checklist guides this discussion and can help determine what decisions and actions you need to take prior to opening your new practice.

Additional resources are available through the Lawyers’ Insurance Association of Nova Scotia under Resources and Opening a Law Office.

Succession Planning & Exiting Practice

All lawyers and law firms in Nova Scotia must maintain an annually reviewed succession plan for their practice (Regulation 4.6). The regulatory requirements for succession planning are similar to those for retiring from practice (or changing to a non-practising category).

We have resources available to support succession planning.

Questions & Support?

Contact the Society’s Legal Services Support at LSS@nsbs.org.