Our Public Advocacy
Whistleblower Advocates Working to Expand and Protect Whistleblower Laws
Whistleblower protection laws are under constant attack. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s mission extends beyond representing our clients. As the leading whistleblower law firm in the nation, our attorneys and whistleblower advocates continue to fight to enact, strengthen and defend laws to protect and reward whistleblowers through our public interest advocacy.
Crafting the Laws that Protect Whistleblowers
Over our 35+ years of representing whistleblowers we have worked with Congress in drafting important new whistleblower laws, such as the Dodd-Frank Act, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, the Taxpayer First Act, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We have also sought to expand whistleblower protections by filing numerous amicus curiae or “Friend of the Court,” briefs on behalf of whistleblowers and their advocacy groups. We have filed amicus briefs in the Supreme Court on a host of issues, from the constitutionality of the False Claims Act to the scope of numerous anti-retaliation or reward laws.
We are whistleblower attorneys working to ensure SEC and IRS whistleblowers are protected and awarded.
Public Policy & Education
Founded by the partners at Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, the National Whistleblower Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt, public policy and education advocacy organization dedicated to helping whistleblowers. Since its formation in 1988, the National Whistleblower Center has provided protection and assistance to thousands of whistleblowers across the United States. The Center has focused on exposing government and corporate misconduct and promoting the highest standards of ethics.
Congressional Hearings & Policy
U.S. Senate and House of Representatives
Our firm has represented numerous clients at oversight investigations and hearings conducted by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Working pro bono, our attorneys have also represented public interest organizations and whistleblowers at congressional policy and legislative hearings.
Protecting Wildlife Whistleblowers
Protecting wildlife whistleblowers through education and public advocacy
Our firm is on the frontline of litigating for qui tam whistleblower rewards and urging Congress to improve whistleblower reward laws. As part of this commitment to developing new areas of qui tam whistleblower reward laws, KKC seeks to educate whistleblowers globally on how the wildlife whistleblower reward laws work. These laws incentivize whistleblowers to come forward with information about wildlife trafficking, illegal fishing, or ocean pollution. When the whistleblower’s information leads to a successful prosecution, the whistleblower is eligible for a reward.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Whistleblower? – Whistleblower Definition
There is no uniform definition of a whistleblower. However, the definition commonly used includes the following:
A whistleblower (or whistle-blower) is someone:
- Whose loyalty is to the truth;
- Who becomes an informant to the government on corporate crimes;
- Who exposes violations of law, including violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Securities Exchange Act, the Commodity Exchange Act, money laundering, False Claims Act, fraud in government contracting or procurement, environmental laws, threats to the public safety, or tax fraud;
- Who discloses government misconduct;
- Who participates in official whistleblower reward programs, such as those under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Commodity Exchange Act, qui tam, and IRS tax law.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.