Your privacy rights
Beginning September 1, 2005, all businesses in Texas must comply with HB 1130 and SB 122 (79th Legislature 2005), regarding the privacy of personal information. These laws extend to lawyers and law firms, reinforcing the professional obligations we have always had.
How and why we collect your personal information
In connection with any legal matter, it is unavoidable that certain personal information must be collected, such as: name, address, social security number, telephone number, driver’s license number, employment records, and medical records. Without this information, we would not be able to provide services to you.
We collect such personal information when you specifically and knowingly give it to us. We may also obtain information about you from other sources, for example:
- From your employers or previous employers, with your approval;
- From your medical providers, with an authorization signed by you;
- From a government agency or school, with your approval;
- From other parties or entities, through the discovery process.
How this personal information is used
Personal information, including your social security number, will be used to provide legal services to you, to administer our client databases, and to communicate with you. In connection with providing legal services to you, we may obtain medical records and wage information, and may, under some circumstances, disclose this information to our consulting experts, other parties in your case, and/or file it with the Court, as the law and rules of procedure require. Information that is filed with any Court may become a matter of public record, and may be available to others as a result. This is something we cannot prevent.
We do not use the information you give us for any other internal purpose or secondary purpose, and will never disclose your personal information other than as specifically required by your case, or otherwise with your consent.
Who we will share personal information with
We may disclose your personal information to health care providers, employers, the Internal Revenue Service, and/or Social Security Administration, in order to obtain evidence relevant to your claim.
We may also disclose your personal information to other parties in the case if requested to do so in the normal course of the discovery process, and only where such information is relevant to the claim.
We may disclose your personal information to others hired by us to work on your case, including consulting attorneys, expert witnesses, and other service providers. These persons or companies either have agreed or will agree to protect your personal information as well.
Please understand that some personal information must be filed with the Court in order to prosecute your claim. When it is filed with a court, or provided to other parties, insurance companies, etc., the information may become public record, and, in such a case, we are not able to ensure the continued privacy of that information.
Security of your personal information
We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that your personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure.
Among the steps taken to protect your information are:
- Premises security;
- Restricted file access to personal information;
- Technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent unauthorized computer access;
- Internal password and security policies.
How we dispose of personal information
All work copies, drafts, and other temporary documents not retained as part of your file will be destroyed by shredding as soon as they are no longer needed.
At the conclusion of your case, your file will be stored in a secured storage facility for a period of at least five (5) years. At that time, if it is appropriate, we will destroy your file, including personal identifying information. You are always welcome to access or take possession of your file, because it belongs to you.
Communicating with us by email
If you communicate with us by email, you should be aware that it is not a 100%-secure method of communication. Please keep this in mind when emailing us sensitive or personal information.
Questions about this policy, or our collection and use of personal information are welcome at any time.