Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto Selected As One of 25 Firms on National Law Journal’s “Plaintiffs’ Hot List”

July 23, 2003 –Washington, DC– Kohn, Kohn, & Colapinto pleased to announce that it was named by the National Law Journal as one of 25 law firms on its “Plaintiffs’ Hot List” in the current issue of the publication. The list represents 25 plaintiffs’ firms that are “go-to teams for when the going gets tough.”

Twenty-five go-to teams for when the going gets tough

The list is comprised of many of the most respected law firms from around the country, and the firms were selected, in part, based on the recommendations of peers. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto is the only firm on the list specializing in whistleblower litigation. What the National Law Journal said:

For 15 years this newspaper has published an annual section called “Winning,” which describes the recent triumphs and techniques of a handful of litigators with notable records of trial court achievement.

The section in your hands today represents our extension of that idea to law firms on the plaintiffs’ side. This is our pick of 25 litigation firms that seem exemplary–the sccessor to the Litigation 50 that we introduced last year.

We were looking for firms that you’d want to call if you had a claim.

They had to be plaintiffs’ litigtion shops–that is, they had to perform at least half of their work for plaintiffs and devote at least half of their resources to litigation.

This left out firms that might have been obvious choices a few years ago, like Boies, Schiller & Flexner, which, these days, devotes much of its time and resources to defense work. Two Houston firms that made the list, Susman Godfrey and Gibbs & Bruns, divide their labors around fifty-fifty. The others seemed comfortably on the plaintiffs’ side.

We tried to select firms to cover the major practice areas. We also aimed for geographic diversity, but we didn’t choose a firm based on its location if it wasn’t at least as qualified as the competition.

We eliminated solo practitioners and shops where one or two players try all the cases because we wanted a list of firms, not a list of lawyers.

Finally, there was a “hotness” quotient, meaning we paid attention to recent results as well as track records. We had in mind verdicts and settlements, not just filings and headlines. In other words, we were looking for the kind of heat that produces sweat, not sizzle.

The process by which this list was derived was subjective. We didn’t try to apply an objective measure, and we don’t claim these are the best plaintiffs’ firms or the most aggressive or the most successful. Many that aren’t here could be. The arbitrary cutoff of 25 required some more or less arbitrary choices.

We sought to cast a wide net by brainstroming internally and by contacting dozens of general counsel and asking for the names of plaintiffs’ firms they use and recommend.

We also asked many attorneys, on both the plaintiffs’ and defense side, to identify litigation firms that seemed particulary strong to them.

To winnow the list, we consulted Web sites, legal databases, new archives and colleagues around the country. We contacted some of the firms and requested additional information.

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Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto

The five-lawyer Washington whistleblower law firm Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto specializes in protecting whistleblower employees, FBI agents and individuals exposing fraud in federal contracting. Founded in 1988, it successfully challenged the payment of “hush money” in the nuclear industry that resulted in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission implementing formal rules prohibiting the practice. (Macktal v. Secretary of Labor).


Georgia Power Co. v. USDOL (11th Cir. 2002), lead whistleblower attorney —Michael Kohn. A whistleblowing high-level nuclear plant manager was fired in violation of the employee protection provisions of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974. After it was determined on appeal that the manager was engaged in protected activity, the court ordered his reinstatement and awarded $4.5 million in damages. Learn more about this corporate whistleblower case.

Jayko v. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (Ohio Dept. Labor ALJ 2000), lead whistleblower attorney—Michael Kohn. A site coordinator for Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency was transferred and falsely accused of theft after alleging improper conduct by his superiors. He had been investigating a cancer cluster found in several school buildings that were constructed on a former army plot associated with the Manhattan Project. Reinstated after a hearing, he was awarded damages of more than $600,000. Learn more about this Ohio EPA whistleblower case.

Sanjour v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (D.C. Cir. 1995) (en banc), lead whistleblower attorney—Stephen Kohn. Employees of the EPA and environmental groups brought suit against the agency, challenging regulations that prohibited EPA employees from receiving reimbursement for expenses for unofficial speaking engagements concerning their official duties. Holding that the regulation violated the employees’ First Amendment rights, the court declared that it was unconstitutional and issued an injunction against its enforcement. Learn more about this EPA whistleblower case.