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Last updated on 12 June 2023.
This Policy does not diminish and is in addition to Brander Smith McKnight’s obligations of confidentiality to its clients and any obligations pursuant to the Legal Profession Uniform Law (NSW).
We are committed to protecting the privacy of personal information obtained while fulfilling duties to the court, clients, and shareholders. As trusted legal advisors, we take the privacy and security of our client’s personal information very seriously.
This policy applies to all the directors, officers, and employees of Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers, as the entire team are required to comply with this Policy when dealing with and handling personal information. Please read this policy carefully and contact us if you have any questions. Our contact details are at the bottom of the Policy.
This policy covers the following areas:
- Collection of personal information and sensitive information
- Security of personal information
- Use of personal information
- Disclosure of personal information
- Online privacy issues
- Storage of personal information
- Personal information of job applicants
- Access to personal information
We understand the importance of maintaining privacy when it comes to client information. Primarily, personal information will be collected directly from you, when you or your organisation seeks legal advice from us, and it will generally include your name, title, address, email address and contact numbers (telephone, fax, mobile). If necessary for the purposes of providing advice to you, we may request additional personal information from you. Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers will not ask to collect sensitive information about you, unless it is needed for the purposes of providing legal advice.
The personal information we collect, and hold includes:
- Contact details, such as office address, home address, telephone numbers and email address;
- General, personal or business details, such as name, job title, date and place of birth, gender, titles, qualifications;
- If applicable, practice details, such as your practicing history and any information relating to complaints received;
- Your or your organisations financial or billing information, such as billing address, bank account and payment and credit card details;
- Any criminal record or medical information to the extent that is relevant to our functions and responsibilities; and
- Records of your communications and other interactions with us.
With your permission, for the purposes of providing suitable legal advice, we may also be required to collect sensitive information. Sensitive information is a subset of personal information that is given a higher level of protection under the Australian Privacy Principles. This can include personal information about an individual’s:
- racial or ethnic origin;
- political opinions or associations;
- religious or philosophical beliefs;
- trade union membership or associations;
- sexual orientation or practices;
- criminal record;
- health or genetic information; and
- some aspects of biometric information.
Security of Personal Information
We may hold your personal information in either electronic or hard-copy form, and in order to ensure we protect client information, a variety of physical and electronic security measures have been employed to keep your personal information secure from misuse, interference, or unauthorised access. For example, we utilise firewalls, secure databases, password protected IT systems and frequently update our anti-virus and cyber security services.
Information held at the firm, unless otherwise stated in this Policy, will only be accessed by personnel within Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers. All employees within the firm are bound by the confidentiality laws and conduct rules that govern the legal profession within Australia and we ensure employee conduct is in compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles.
Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers has taken necessary steps to ensure the security of your personal information. Our premises are in secure buildings with access restricted to certain key holders. Our IT systems are password protected and we frequently update our anti-virus software in order to protect our systems (and the data in those systems).
We will not disclose information to third parties without your consent or unless otherwise outlined in this Policy, unless it becomes necessary to lessen or prevent a serious and imminent threat to life, health or safety, or we are otherwise compelled to by law.
Use of Personal Information
Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers will only use your personal information for the reason for which you have provided it, as permitted by this Policy, or otherwise for reasons outlined in the APP and Privacy Act.
We collect, hold, and manage personal information that is reasonably necessary for the purposes of:
- Providing legal advice or other services you may have requested;
- Managing and administering your or your organisations business relationship with the firm, including process payments, accounting, billing and support services;
- Remaining compliant with our legal obligations (such as record keeping), compliance screening or recording obligations;
- Conducting the effective management of our business, such as account management, internal record keeping, financial modelling and analysis;
- Seeking consent in relation to publications of reviews and testimonials;
- Market research such as surveys, marketing and business development;
- Assessing whether we are able to act for a party, as we will not consider acting for a party who does not properly identify themselves (due to conflict of interest);
- Complying with our legal obligations and for establishing, exercising or defending legal proceedings; and
- Other purposes related to the function of our business.
If we collect, hold or use personal information for purposes other than as stated in this policy, we ensure that it is pursuant with the requirements of the Privacy Act.
Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers safely stores personal information that is provided to us, including at a pre-client stage, as it enables us to respond more efficiently in our provision of legal services. We reserve the right to retain personal information for as long as it is necessary to fulfil the purposes stated above, in accordance with our applicable record retention policies and procedures. We are obliged to remain compliant with Rule 14 of the Solicitors Practice Rules which requires the company, at the conclusion of legal matters, to keep legal files for a minimum period of 7 years from the closure of a legal file, unless otherwise instructed to the contrary. We will also retain personal information for the purposes of ongoing legal and regulatory compliance, as well as for establishing, exercising, or defending legal proceedings.
Disclosure of Personal Information
Occasionally we are required to share your personal data on a confidential basis for the purpose of providing legal advice or other products or services.
We may disclose personal information for the purpose of:
- Assisting you to obtain products and services from third parties in connection with your matter;
- Providing information to barristers or other legal specialists (as required for your matter);
- Providing information, products, services or marketing to you; and
- Providing information to technology and service providers who maintain, review, and develop our business systems, procedures and technology infrastructure.
In some instances, we may also be compelled to disclose personal information by law. For example, under court orders or statutory notices to produce documents.
Online Privacy Issues
For analytical and statistical purposes, we collect information regarding website activity. To improve our website and services, we collect data such as: the number of users visiting our website, their location, the date and time of visits, which links you use to access our site, the type of device and the amount of time you spend on a page.
When visiting our website, a small text file called a “cookie” is stored on your device. We collect these cookies from your device which enable us to tell when you use the website and to help customise your website experience. We utilise cookies to maintain user sessions and track the behaviour of website visitors. By doing this, it allows the firm to keep our site useful and relevant. However, we do not link this information back to your identity or any other information that you have provided to us.
Cookies allow us to monitor the efficacy of our business, improve performance, as well as personalise your experience when you visit our website. Most web browsers accept cookies by default, however, if you wish to not receive cookies, you may set your browser to refuse and block cookies.
Additionally, we may also use web beacons on our website. These are placed on a web page to monitor the visitors behaviour and collect data surrounding certain web page traffic. We do not use this technology to access your personal information.
Personal Information of Job Applicants
Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers collects personal information from individuals who apply for employment at the firm. We collect information such as:
- Personal contact details and gender;
- Employment history and educational history;
- Relevant qualifications and eligibility to work in Australia; and
- Referees’ contact details.
This information is collected directly from job applicants, from recruiting agencies or social websites such as LinkedIn. The firm collects information about job applicants to assess their eligibility and suitability for employment.
Access to Personal Information
We provide individuals with the opportunity to access their personal information and seek corrections to any inaccuracies. If you believe that information we hold about you is incorrect or out of date, under the Privacy Act you have the right to:
- Ask us to correct or update your personal information when it is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date; and
- Seek access to your personal information handled by Brander Smith McKnight Lawyers
If you wish to have your personal details deleted, please let us know and we will take reasonable steps to delete them, unless we are required to keep the information for legal or internal risk management reasons.
Ph: (02) 8539 7475
Address: 9, 2/15 E Parade, Sutherland NSW 2232