Lerners is committed to ensuring the accuracy, security and privacy of Personal Information in compliance with all applicable legislation. The Lerners Privacy Statement contains the principles and guidelines for how Lerners Processes the Personal Information of clients, service providers and other individuals (“you” or “your”).
Personal Information – information about an identifiable individual, or information that allows an individual to be identified. For the purposes of this Privacy Statement, personal information is information about an identifiable individual as it is defined in applicable privacy legislation. Generally, business contact information is not considered to be Personal Information.
Process or Processing or Processed – the collection, use, disclosure, retention and/or deletion of Personal Information.
Consent for Collection, Use and Disclosure of Your Personal Information
Consent is required for the collection, use and disclosure of your Personal Information. Lerners makes best efforts to obtain your consent at the time your Personal Information is collected. By submitting Personal Information to Lerners, you agree that we may Process this information in compliance with this Privacy Statement, and as permitted or required by law.
If a person lacks capacity to provide consent (e.g. an individual that is a minor, seriously ill, mentally incapacitated), it will be obtained from a legal guardian, or person having power of attorney.
If you provide Lerners, our service providers or our agents with the Personal Information of another person, you are representing that you have obtained the necessary consent from that individual for the information to be Processed by Lerners for the purposes set forth in this Privacy Statement.
You may withdraw your consent to collect, use or disclose your Personal Information at any time by advising the lawyer you retained or the Lerners’ Chief Privacy Officer. The withdrawal of your consent is to be provided in writing or by email. It is important that you understand that by withdrawing your consent to Process your information, Lerners may no longer be able to provide you with, or to continue to provide you with, certain services, requested advice or information which may be of value to you.
Privacy legislation, in specific and limited circumstances, allows for the collection, use or disclosure of information without consent. If such an exception is relied upon, Lerners will document all exceptions along with the rationale to support our reliance on it.
What Personal Information does Lerners Collect?
In the course of your interaction with Lerners, and in the course of providing services to you, we may collect or obtain Personal Information about you. The types of information that Lerners may collect about you includes, but is not limited to: your name, address, telephone number, email address(es), billing and accounting information, lifestyle and social circumstances (e.g. your hobbies, how you spend your leisure time), family circumstances (e.g. marital status, dependents), employment and education information, financial and tax-related information, medical and health information, and your postings to online forums or applications, such as blogs, social media, etc..
We may also collect information that is required in order to effectively provide legal services to you, including Personal Information from and/or about family members, witnesses, beneficiaries, directors, officers, employees, adverse parties, investigators, experts, professional advisors, business partners, investors, shareholders, competitors and customers of our clients.
For prospective or current employees, contractors or service providers, we collect information from former employers and other third parties (e.g. references, past customers, etc.), and from publicly available sources, Personal Information that is reasonably required to establish, manage or terminate an employment, contractual or partnership relationship.
Why does Lerners Collect Your Personal Information?
In general, Lerners collects, uses or discloses the Personal Information of our clients or service providers in order to provide professional legal services, and of applicants for positions with Lerners to evaluate the application and to decide whether to establish (and then manage or terminate) an employment, contractual or partnership relationship.
Use of Personal Information to provide services to our clients
In order to provide professional legal services to our clients, Lerners may use your Personal Information for the following non-exhaustive purposes:
- to run a conflict check in order to determine whether Lerners can represent an individual, corporation or organization;
- to evaluate and investigate a potential legal issue;
- to manage client relationships, provide legal advice, perform legal services, and fulfill legal services;
- to share Personal Information to and from third parties for the purpose of providing legal services. Examples of third parties include opposing parties, opposing counsel, witnesses, treatment providers and experts;
- as permitted by, and to comply with, any legal or regulatory requirements or provisions; and,
- for any other purpose to which you consent.
Use of Personal Information for other activities that form part of the operation of our business
Lerners may also use your Personal Information for the purposes of, or in connection with, the following:
- client account opening and other administrative purposes;
- financial accounting and invoicing;
- client relationship purposes, which may involve (i) contacting you to receive feedback on services; or (ii) managing our client relationship management process;
- determining whether to establish and maintain commercial relationships with suppliers, vendors, and other third parties, including to issue invoices, administer accounts, collect and process payments, and to fulfill contractual obligations;
- recruitment and business development purposes, including to contact and communicate with clients, suppliers and other third parties, and to conduct surveys, research and evaluations;
- developing, enhancing, marketing, selling or otherwise providing Lerners products and services;
- distributing our newsletters and other informational email communications, conference information and other material to individuals on our mail and email lists, including via third party mailing houses and email service providers;
- developing and managing our internal precedent systems and databases;
- detecting and protecting Lerners, our clients and other third parties against error, negligence, breach of contract, fraud, theft and other illegal activity;
- establishing, managing and terminating employment, contractual and partnership relationships;
- receiving service from our professional advisors, such as lawyers, accountants and consultants; and,
- protecting our rights and those of our clients.
Personal Information will not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with your consent, or as required by law. Lerners will obtain your consent, if your Personal Information is to be used for a purpose other than for which it was originally collected, used or disclosed.
To Whom does Lerners Disclose Your Personal Information?
In order to fulfill one of the purposes in the “Why Does Lerners Collect Your Personal Information” section above, we may disclose your Personal Information to: other members of Lerners; third parties that provide services to Lerners; opposing parties and opposing counsel in your legal matter; agents or experts retained in the course of your legal matter; a financial institution, on a confidential basis and solely in connection with the assignment of a right to receive payment, the provision of security or other financing arrangement; to our insurers or regulatory agencies, such as the Law Society of Ontario, or others in connection with regulatory or other activities relating to Lerners’ obligations and its practice of the profession of law; to government authorities, insurers, benefits providers, consultants or agents as reasonably required to establish, manage or terminate an employment, contractual or partnership relationship; or any third party, when you have provided your consent.
We may need to disclose your Personal Information if required to do so by law, a regulator or during legal proceedings.
In cases where disclosure of information to a third party is authorized, the least amount of information appropriate for the intended purpose is disclosed.
Where is Your Personal Information Stored?
Your Personal Information is stored in secured locations and on servers controlled by Lerners, within Canada.
Some of the recipients of your Personal Information listed in the “To Whom Does Lerners Disclose Your Personal Information” section above may be based outside of Canada. Laws in jurisdictions outside of Canada may not afford the same level of privacy protection. In such cases, we will make best efforts to ensure that there are adequate safeguards in place to protect your Personal Information.
How does Lerners Protect Your Personal Information?
Lerners uses a range of physical, electronic and organizational measures appropriate to the sensitivity of your Personal Information to ensure that it is kept secure. These measures include:
- education and training to relevant staff to ensure they are aware of our privacy obligations when handling Personal Information;
- administrative and technical controls to restrict access to Personal Information;
- technological and security measures, including firewalls, multi-factor authentication, encryption and anti-virus software; and,
- physical security measures, such as security passes to enter areas where Personal Information is stored or can be accessed.
Lerners strives to protect the Personal Information of our clients. While we use appropriate security measures once your Personal Information has been disclosed to us, the transmission of data over the internet (including by electronic communications) cannot be guaranteed to be secured.
Retention of Your Personal Information
Lerners will retain your Personal Information for the longer of the following periods: (i) as long as is necessary to provide the services for which we were retained; (ii) any retention period that is required by law or professional standards; (iii) the end of the period in which litigation or investigations might arise in response of the services provided to our clients; or (iv) as directed by Lerners internal retention schedule, the length of which will vary pursuant to the type of information that is held.
Your Privacy and the Lerners Website
Cookies – When an individual visitor accesses the Lerners website, we may use a browser feature called a ‘cookie’ to collect information such as the type of internet browser and operating system the visitor uses, the domain name of the website from which the visitor came, date and duration of the visit, number of visits, average time spent on our website, pages viewed and number of cookies accumulated. A cookie is a small text file containing a unique identification number that identifies the visitor’s browser, but not necessarily the visitor, to our computers each time our website is visited. Unless a visitor specifically informs us (e.g. by registering for an event or sending us correspondence from the website), we will not know who the individual visitors are. In addition to the identified purposes described in our Privacy Statement, we may use this website information and share it with other organizations with whom we have a commercial relationship to measure the use of our website, to improve the functionality and content of the website and to facilitate usage by a visitor. Visitors can reset their browsers either to notify them when they have received a cookie or refuse to accept cookies. However, if a visitor refuses to accept cookies, he or she may not be able to use some of the features available on our website.
Online Communications – In order to provide our website visitors with a service or information, visitors may voluntarily submit Personal Information to us for purposes such as asking a question, obtaining information, reviewing or downloading a publication, subscribing to a newsletter or a mail or email list, participating in a seminar or other event, and participating in contests and surveys. If you are known to Lerners as a registered user of an online service, we may combine and store Personal Information about your use of our website and the online information you have provided with certain other online and offline information we may have collected.
Email Communications – Occasionally, we may send marketing or promotional email communications to you, including information about the services of Lerners. In this process, we may collect certain information related to your viewing and use of the email communication, and compile generally the related statistics. We may combine and store any such information to manage and improve our email communications to you. We will include instructions on how to unsubscribe if you decide you do not want to receive any future marketing or promotional emails from Lerners.
Links – Our website may contain links to other websites which are provided as a convenience only. Visitors are advised that other third party websites may have different privacy policies and practices than Lerners, and we have no responsibility for such third party websites.
How to Make an Inquiry About Your Personal Information?
You have various rights in relation to your Personal Information. Specifically, you have a right to:
- obtain confirmation that we are processing your Personal Information and request a copy of your Personal Information held by Lerners.
- request that we update your Personal Information we hold about you, or correct such Personal Information that you think is incomplete or inaccurate. If there is a disagreement about the accuracy of your Personal Information, a notation will be made to your Personal Information setting out your correction.
Lerners has appointed Alysia M. Christiaen of our London office as Chief Privacy Officer to oversee compliance with the firm Privacy Statement and applicable privacy legislation. For additional information on Lerners’ privacy practices, or to express concern about compliance with this Privacy Statement, please contact Ms. Christiaen at:
85 Dufferin Avenue, PO Box 2335
London, ON N6A 4G4
Changes to the Privacy Statement
On occasion, we may modify or amend the Privacy Statement.
Revised: December 10th, 2020