We, at D&A, recognize the importance of client privacy and the sensitivity of the personal information that we may have concerning any individual or client. As practicing lawyers we have a professional and ethical obligation to keep confidential all information we receive within a lawyer-client relationship subject to the client’s instructions to provide legal services. Further, we are committed to safeguarding the personal information we have or control concerning any individual.
D&A manages your personal information in compliance with American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct and will comply in certain circumstances with other U.S. Federal Rules, as required.
We collect personal information for the purposes of serving the legal and related needs of our clients. We require information to:
• understand, access and assist you, our client with your ongoing legal needs;
• ensure information is accurate and up-to-date; or
• collect information through legal means on you and other individuals for the purposes of providing legal services to clients.
Personal information is any information that identifies you. We follow reasonable and prudent business practices to collect, use and disclose your personal information for the purpose of providing you with legal services.
We collect information only by lawful and fair means. When we make directed individual requests for your relevant sensitive personal information from a particular organization, we will obtain your written consent. Wherever possible we collect your personal information directly from you. We may ask you for your consent, at the start of a retainer and during the course of our representation. Your consent may be in writing, verbal or implied as necessary to further your legal needs. Our privacy statement is your notice of the purposes for which we collect, use or disclose your personal information or business contact information. Dependent on the legal services provided, with your consent, we may obtain this relevant information from:
• medical professionals;
• public registries such the State or Federal Courts, Land Titles Offices or the Probate Registry
• financial institutions (for example to assess financial loss in a litigation or level of family support in a family matter);
• your employer (for example, employment evidence for damage assessment);
• motor vehicle and driver licensing authorities;
• law enforcement, if relevant; or
• Investigators Consent
Our practice is to request either your written or express oral consent, which may be given in person or over the telephone if your identity is authenticated. Your consent may also be digitally provided, such as by email or click-through permission. If you volunteer to provide relevant personal information, we assume that you are consenting to the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information as described in our Privacy Statement, or when you initiate contact with us, we may determine that consent has been implied for us to collect, use and disclose personal information in a reasonable manner.
In some situations, we will require express consent in writing, by the provision of a letter, application form, electronic signature, or other document authorizing certain activities. There are certain circumstances where we are required or permitted by law, to collect, use and disclose personal information without consent. We will handle all personal information confidentially and will substantiate the legal authority to collect, use and disclose personal information in these circumstances.
Under certain circumstances, we will disclose your personal information without your consent:
• when we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example if a court issues a subpoena;
• when the use of the information is necessary to respond to an emergency that threatens the life, health or security of an individual or the public;
• when it is necessary to establish or collect our fees; or
• if the information is already publicly known.
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you and to administer our legal business incidental to providing legal services, such as client billing. With your permission, we may send you information about our other legal services, or about new developments in the law. You may at any time withdraw your consent by notifying us, and we will not send you any such material. We do not disclose or sell your personal information or business contact information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services.
When we release information about you, it is done to serve specific needs, in the course of providing legal services. With your consent, we may provide information to:
• our staff and agents who use the information to for the reasonable business purpose of providing you with legal services;
• professionals working with us such as investigators, paralegals and experts; or
• financial institutions, for example, the institution that carries your mortgage.
You have the right to request a correction of the personal information that we hold about you. We rely on you to provide us with accurate and up-to-date personal and business contact information for the purposes of providing you with legal services and to maintain contact with you. If during the course of our professional relationship, any of your information changes, please inform us so that we can make any necessary changes.
In order to protect your personal information, we will:
• not collect, use or disclose your personal information for any purpose other than those we identify to you or are reasonably evident;
• only disclose your personal information to those persons who have a need to know your personal information for the purposes stated in this Privacy Statement;
• keep your personal information only for as long as needed it to fulfill the stated purpose or as required by law;
• maintain your personal information in as accurate, complete and up-to-date a form as possible, or
• maintain technological safeguards such as passwords or encryption for your sensitive personal information.
You may request access to the personal information we have about you. The request must be in writing, either physically or through digital means, and be directed to the law firm’s indicated communication means below. We will charge a reasonable fee for accessing, retrieval and/or copying of your personal information. If the retrieval or copying or your request is extensive, we will notify you of the fee prior to retrieval and copying.
There are exceptions to your right to access your personal information. By law, we must deny access when:
• Your file contains personal information on a third party and the information cannot be severed to maintain the privacy of the third party information;
• Required or authorized by law (for example, when a record containing personal information about you is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege by one of our clients);
We have the right to deny access to your information and may deny access when:
• Your information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against you, including unpaid bills to the law firm;
• If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why. In all cases we will attempt to mediate a resolution if possible.
E-mail is not a secure, confidential method of communicating your confidential and personal information with us. We will not use e-mail to send personal or confidential information unless you expressly or inherently authorize this form of communication and accept all the inherent risks associated with this type of communication.
We may review and change our Privacy Statement from time to time in order to update our privacy commitment to you in keeping with current privacy laws.
Please contact our Office via the means below if you:
• wish to access your personal information, whether through obtaining physical copy, or digital copy;
• wish to change your consent regarding the manner in which we collection, use and disclose your personal information as outlined in our Privacy Statement; or
• have concerns about our privacy policies or how we’ve handled your personal information.
DeWitty and Associates, Chtd.
700 12th Street, NW, Ste. 700
Washington, D.C. 20005