Blowing the whistle is serious business. Your job, reputation, and career may be on the line. Your first priority should be to find a whistleblower lawyer. Not all whistleblower disclosures are lawful or protected. You need to know how to blow the whistle and protect yourself.
Moreover, many whistleblower laws permit you to obtain a financial reward. It is essential that when you blow the whistle, you understand your rights.
In the United States, many whistleblower lawyers work for a “contingency” fee. If the whistleblower loses his or her case, the whistleblower does not have to pay the attorney any money. But if the whistleblower wins the case, their attorney will generally obtain a contingency fee of between 30-40%.
Additionally, many whistleblower laws have “statutory fee” provisions. Under these provisions, if the whistleblower wins, the company must pay all “reasonable” attorney fees incurred on behalf of the client.
Finally, although many whistleblowers have a “contingency fee” arrangement, many firms will charge a whistleblower an hourly fee. There are many reasons that firms charge such a rate. Having to pay an attorney a fee is not a good reason to reject retaining legal representation.
It is Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto’s general practice to represent whistleblowers on a contingency fee basis.
If I live outside of the United States, can I obtain a free attorney?
Outside of the United States, most attorneys charge their clients fees. However, the United States has a different pay-model based on a contingency fee (see above). Thus, international whistleblowers who retain attorneys in the United States often do not have to pay any up-front attorney fees.
If I lose my case, must I pay the fees of opposing counsel?
Under the virtually universally followed general rule, if a whistleblower loses their case, he/she does not have to pay the attorney fees incurred by opposing counsel. This general rule is especially true in whistleblower cases litigated within the U.S. Department of Labor. In these cases, there are strict rules preventing companies from ever obtaining any fees or costs from whistleblowers who lose their cases. There are even limits on the number of sanctions given if a whistleblower files a frivolous lawsuit, in bad faith.
In federal court, whistleblowers do not have to pay fees to a corporation if they lose their case. However, if a lawsuit is frivolous and pursued in bad faith, the whistleblower may be liable for sanctions. A losing party in federal court is often liable to pay court costs, which are very small when compared with attorney fees.
It is nearly impossible for a whistleblower who files under the SEC and IRS reward laws to be liable for attorney fees from his or her employer. This situation is especially true if they maintain their confidentiality.
Will Kohn, Kohn, And Colapinto represent me?
The whistleblower lawyers of the law firm of Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto all have over 30 years’ experience representing whistleblowers. If KKC agrees to represent you, one of our founding partners will manage your case. This hands-on approach by KKC partners makes it very difficult for the law firm to represent all of the whistleblowers who contact our firm. A founding partner does review every intake form received through the contact us form on our website.
If Kohn, Kohn And Colapinto cannot represent me, what choices do I have?
The law firm of Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto works, pro bono, with the non-profit National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund and the National Whistleblower Center. These organizations have networks of attorneys who are willing to review whistleblower cases. If our firm cannot represent you, we recommend that you contact these organizations to obtain assistance or referrals.
The three founding partners of our firm have exclusively represented whistleblowers since 1984 (Stephen Kohn), 1985 (Michael Kohn) and 1988 (David Colapinto). Our managing partner, Mary Jane Wilmoth, joined the firm in 1993. The firm’s record on winning whistleblower cases is second to none. We obtained the largest award ever given to an individual whistleblower, won numerous reward and retaliation cases, and have worked with Congress and executive agencies in drafting the laws and rules governing whistleblowers. Our partners have written the most books published on whistleblower laws. In 1988 the firm’s partners helped to found the National Whistleblower Center, and they are highly committed to advocating pro bono for whistleblowers. They successfully established many of the whistleblower laws, regulation, and legal precedents that now benefit all whistleblowers.
What other steps can I take to obtain a whistleblower lawyer?
It is often difficult to find a whistleblower lawyer and obtain qualified counsel. Many whistleblowers still proceed pro se (i.e., represent themselves), often because they cannot afford or locate an attorney.
We strongly recommend that whistleblowers seeking representation carefully read The New Whistleblower’s Handbook. This book sets forth the essential elements of all modern whistleblower laws. You must understand how these laws work, so you are in the best position to “sell” your case to a prospective attorney.
On January 30, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded $1 million to a whistleblower whose “tip was the initial source of the underlying investigation and caused the opening of the investigation,” according to the award order. Qualified SEC whistleblowers are entitled to monetary awards through the SEC Whistleblower ...
On January 24, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a $28 million award to joint whistleblowers who alerted the agency to ongoing fraud, allowing the SEC to return millions of dollars to harmed investors. Qualified SEC whistleblowers, individuals who voluntarily disclose original information that contributes to the success ...
Most law firms have general accolades on their sites, which can be misleading. Most of these achievements are easy to get and given out by independent promoters. We believe the main things to look for in a whistleblower lawyer are their pro-bono and advocacy, and if possible, the cases and whistleblower reward amounts they’ve received on behalf of their clients.
Most whistleblower lawyers work on a contingency fee model, which means they only get paid if you win your case. Fees shouldn’t be a barrier for whistleblowers coming forward with information about serious fraud, misconduct, or abuse.
Whistleblower lawyers will not only circumnavigate the process of filing a whistleblower claim and fight to get you the maximum reward amount, but also help protect you against retaliation and fight to keep your identity confidential.
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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. All information submitted in the client intake form or in email from anyone seeking legal assistance is considered covered under the attorney client and work product privileges to the fullest extent of the law. While we treat your information as confidential, a lawyer-client relationship is created only by express written agreement signed by both you and Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto.