Harrison Pensa LLP recognizes the importance of privacy and the sensitivity of personal information. As lawyers we have a professional obligation to keep confidential all information we receive within a lawyer-client relationship. We are committed to protecting any personal information we hold.
Your Privacy Rights
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act applies to lawyers and law firms. We also have confidentiality obligations that arise from the solicitor-client relationship.
Why Does Harrison Pensa Need Personal Information?
Harrison Pensa provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients. In doing so, we need to collect personal information for various reasons including: understanding client needs, representing our clients, meeting legal, regulatory and contractual requirements, maintaining client contact information, and providing materials concerning our services and developments in the law.
What personal information do we collect?
Personal information is any information about an individual. This could include information such as age, identification numbers, income, ethnic origin, credit or banking information, employee records, medical records, and any information relevant to the issue for which we have been retained. We must collect and use such personal information to provide legal services. This information may be about our clients, or may be about individuals who are not clients, but are involved in transactions, matters or disputes with clients.
How do we collect personal information?
We collect personal information in the normal course of client representation and only by lawful and reasonable means. We collect personal information directly from our clients and also obtain information from sources other than the individual: for example, insurance companies, real estate agents in a property transaction, government agencies or registries, employers, accountants, internally generated work product, and other parties to a transaction, matter or dispute.
In most cases, we ask individuals to specifically consent, if we collect, use, or disclose their personal information where such collection, use and disclosure is such that would not be considered normal for a law firm’s representation of a client. Permission may be expressed in writing or be implied and may be given to us verbally, electronically, or through an authorized representative. Individuals may withdraw permission to collect, use and disclose their personal information at any time, subject to legal and contractual restrictions and reasonable notice. Sometimes consent is implied through conduct with us.
Use of Personal Information
We use personal information to provide legal advice and services to clients, to administer client accounting and to include clients in any direct marketing activities. If an individual tells us they no longer wish to receive information about our services, or about new developments in the law, we will not send any further material. Harrison Pensa does not disclose personal information to any third parties to enable them to market their products and services.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, Harrison Pensa will disclose personal information; such as: when we are required or authorized by law or ethical reasons to do so, for example by court order or pursuant to exemptions to consents provided in applicable privacy legislation; when an individual has consented to the disclosure; when the legal services we are providing requires us give information to third parties (for example a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction, or as necessary for court actions); where it is necessary to establish or collect fees; if we engage a third party to provide administrative services to us (like computer back-up services or archival file storage) and the third party is bound by privacy obligations; if we engage expert witnesses on a client’s behalf; if we retain other law firms in other jurisdictions on a client’s behalf; if the information is already publicly known, or if our law firm was to merge with another or otherwise become part of another firm.
Updating Personal Information
It is important that the information be accurate and up-to-date. If during the course of the retainer, any personal information changes, the individual should inform us so we can make any necessary changes. If Harrison Pensa holds information about an individual that the individual can show is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, Harrison Pensa will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Is My Personal Information Secure?
Harrison Pensa takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. Among the steps taken to protect personal information are: premises security; restricted file access; deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls; and internal password and security policies.
Access to Personal Information
Individuals may ask for access to any personal information we hold about them. Summary information is available on request. More detailed requests which require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees.
Can I be Denied Access to My Personal Information?
An individual’s right to access their personal information is not absolute. We may deny access when, for example: denial of access is required or authorized by law (for example, when a record containing personal information is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege by one of our clients, or is allowed under relevant privacy legislation); information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against the individual; granting access would have an unreasonable impact on other people’s privacy; to do so would prejudice negotiations; to protect our firm’s rights and property; or the request is frivolous or vexatious. Certain ethical, procedural and confidentiality rules may prevent access in certain circumstances. If an individual is represented by other counsel for a dispute or transaction, we are not able to discuss privacy or other matters directly with that person. In those circumstances, the individual’s counsel must contact us. If we deny a request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we will explain why.
Communicating with Harrison Pensa
Some view Internet e-mail as less confidential than other more traditional forms of communication. If a client does not wish us to use Internet e-mail, please advise us in writing.
Requests for Access
If you have any privacy questions, or wish to access your personal information, please contact our Privacy Officer at:
Harrison Pensa LLP
450 Talbot Street,
P.O. Box 3237
Attn: Privacy Officer
When one applies to Harrison Pensa for a job, we need to consider personal information as part of our review process. We normally retain information from candidates for a limited time after a decision has been made, unless the individual asks us not to retain the information. If a job offer is accepted, the information will be retained in accordance with our privacy procedures for employee records.