Privacy of personal information is an important principle to Schwarz Law LLP. We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the goods and services we provide. We also try to be open and transparent as to how we handle personal information. This document describes our privacy polices.
WHAT IS PERSONAL INFORMATION?
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Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information includes information that relates to their personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home address or phone number, ethnic background, family status), their health (e.g., health history, health conditions, health services received by them) or their activities views (e.g., religion, politics, opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information is to be contrasted with business information (e.g., an individual’s business address and telephone number). which is not protected by privacy legislation.
WHO WE ARE
Our organization, the law office of Schwarz Law LLP, has a number of different lawyers. We use a number of consultants and agencies that may, in the course of their duties, have limited access to personal information we hold. These include computer consultants, office security and maintenance, bookkeepers and accountants, a file storage company, temporary workers to cover holidays, credit card companies, website managers, cleaners, our landlord and other lawyers. We restrict their access to any personal information we hold as much as is reasonably possible. We also have their assurance that they follow appropriate privacy principles.
WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION: PRIMARY PURPOSES
Like all lawyers, we collect, use and disclose personal information in order to serve our clients. For our clients, the primary purpose for collecting personal information is to provide legal advice and services. Where our client is an individual, we collect information about the client’s legal issue including anything the client might have done or said that might affect their legal situation, so that we can advise the client as to their legal rights and responsibilities, their options of addressing the issue and then to carry out their instructions.
A second primary purpose might be to collect personal information from third parties about a client’s legal issue so that we can ascertain how the third party’s perception of events can affect our client’s legal situation. A third primary purpose is to obtain home contact information so that we can contact the client in an emergency (we avoid contacting clients at home unless absolutely necessary).
It would be rare for us to collect any personal information without the client’s express consent, but this might occur in a case of urgency (e.g., the client is unavailable) or where we believe the client would consent if asked and it is impractical to obtain consent (e.g., a potential witness is located).
About Members of the General Public
For members of the general public, our primary purpose for collecting personal information is usually to gather and review evidence that is relevant to a legal issue affecting our own clients (e.g., we are advising a regulatory body who provides us with information about their members and how their members have behaved toward their own clients). Thus, the personal information is usually incidental to our providing advice to our client. Often this collection, use and disclosure is done without the individual’s consent because we are reviewing an apparent breach of law or an agreement and obtaining consent would compromise the investigation.
Another primary purpose for collecting personal information about members of the general public is to provide notice of special events (e.g., a seminar or conference) or to make them aware of legal services in general or our firm in particular. For example, while we try to collect work contract information where possible, we might collect home addresses, fax numbers and email addresses. We try to obtain consent before collecting any such personal information, but where this is not, for any reason, possible, we will upon request immediately remove any personal information from our distribution list.
On our website, we only collect, with the exception of cookies, the personal information you provide and to only use that information for the purpose you gave it to us (e.g., to respond to your email message, to register for a course, to subscribe to our newsletters). Cookies are only used to help you navigate our website and are not use to monitor you.
About Contract Staff
For people who are contracted to do work for us (e.g. temporary workers), our primary purpose for collecting personal information is to ensure we can contract them in the future (e.g., for new assignments) and for necessary work-related communication (e.g. sending out paycheques, year-end tax receipts, tax filings). Examples of the type of personal information we collect for those purposes include home addressed and telephone numbers. It is rare for us to collect such information without prior consent, but it might happen in the case of a health emergency (e.g., an outbreak of a contagious disease) or to investigate a possible breach of law (e.g. if a theft were to occur in the office).
When we act as an investigator for professional regulators or associations or other business clients, our primary purpose for collecting personal information is to gather the necessary information and evidence to express a sound opinion on the issue for our client and represent them in legal proceedings. For example, we collect information about an allegation of wrongdoing by a member of a professional body or an employee of our client. In such circumstances, we often act without the consent of the subject of the investigation because we are inquiring into an apparent breach of law or an agreement and obtaining consent would compromise the investigation.
WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION: RELATED AND SECONDARY PURPOSES
Like most organizations, we also collect, use and disclose information for purposes related to or secondary to our primary purposes. The most common examples of our related and secondary purposes are as follows: