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Indigenous Legal Issues certified specialist designation

September 17, 2019

The Law Society of Ontario’s Certified Specialist Program (CSP) recognizes Ontario lawyers who are leaders in their field and allows them to market themselves as “specialists” to the public. Lawyers with a certified specialist designation have met high standards of practice and have particular expertise in a field of law.

The CSP is continuing to accept applications for its Indigenous Legal Issues (ILI) specialty. Lawyers with the appropriate experience, knowledge, and skills, including intercultural competence, may apply to one of three sub-specialties:

  • Corporate and Commercial
  • Litigation and Advocacy
  • Rights and Governance

The ILI program is just one of 17 specialties available from the CSP. Developed with the participation of the Indigenous bar and leading practitioners across the province, the ILI specialty supports the Law Society’s commitment to improve access to justice for Indigenous Peoples. In addition to expertise with Indigenous legal issues, ILI specialists are expected to have a thorough understanding of and respect for Indigenous perspectives.


In order to qualify, Ontario lawyers must have at least 5 of 7 years of practice experience in Indigenous Legal Issues, and the requisite knowledge, skills, and professional requirements to demonstrate elevated competence in this area, including the ability to properly articulate the relevant Indigenous perspective in each matter undertaken.

Applicants must submit a brief statement confirming that they have obtained a significant understanding of the culture, the economic, political, social, or historical contexts, and the legal perspectives of at least one Indigenous Peoples as of the date of their application. Applicants are also required to submit a reference from an Indigenous community member.

CSP application and policies

The Application for Certification is common to all specialty areas and must be completed by all applicants. Prior to applying to the CSP, applicants are asked to review the Administrative Policies Governing the Certified Specialist Program.

To learn more, visit the CSP website or contact

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