Michael D. Kohn has successfully represented whistleblowers in cases against some of the nation’s largest corporations and law firms, including Georgia Power Company, Brown & Root and Ashland Oil Company. He has also won numerous whistleblower cases against federal, state and local governments. His knowledge of issues involving the life sciences, nuclear energy and technology are integral to the firm’s advocacy for those who report environmental violations in the workplace. Mr. Kohn is often sought out by the national media to comment on whistleblower actions and is co-author of two landmark books on whistleblower protection. He is co-founder and serves as President of the National Whistleblower Center, and Trustee of the National Whistleblowers Legal Defense & Education Fund. He formerly served as Legal Ethics Director at the Government Accountability Project (1985-88) specializing in litigating corporate whistleblower cases.
Promoting International Qui Tam Whistleblowing
Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto has played an instrumental role in advancing whistleblower rights worldwide. Currently the partners represent whistleblowers from every continent on earth (except Antarctica) in pursuing whistleblower reward cases under U.S. laws.
Steve Kohn has been sponsored by the U.S. Department of State to promote whistleblowing on a world-wide scale, including special seminars and programs in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bosnia, Serbia and Thailand. He has given major keynote addresses in Peru and Greece and presented in numerous international conferences and has testified on behalf of whistleblowers before the European Parliament and the Danish Parliament. Mike Kohn has made major international presentations in Poland, South Korea and Israel. The firm filed extensive comments supporting greater whistleblower protections in the now-approved European Directive on Whistleblowing.
Whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn and partners of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto regularly advise congress on crafting whistleblower laws. And play an instrumental role in drafting whistleblower protection laws, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, and the Dodd-Frank Act.
SEC & IRS Rulemaking
During the Dodd-Frank rulemaking process, our partners worked closely with the SEC to create an effective whistleblower program. Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s partners met personally with each of the five SEC Commissioners. They presented them with detailed reports and proposals setting forth rules that were essential to make the law work for Dodd-Frank whistleblowers as intended by Congress. Furthermore, Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto’s whistleblower attorneys seek to protect and enhance legal protections for tax fraud whistleblowers. Our firm has filed numerous internal revenue service rulemaking petitions, filed extensive briefs to the IRS and testified at IRS rulemaking hearsing to strengthen the tax whistleblower program.[Read More]
- August 23, 2010: Presentation to Representatives from the Office of the Chairman
- January 31, 2011: Presentation to the Staff of the SEC Division of Enforcement
- February 10, 2011: Presentation to SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar
- February 11, 2011: Presentation to SEC Commissioner Troy A. Paredes
- March 11, 2011: Presentation to SEC Commissioner Kathleen L. Casey
- March 16, 2011: Presentation to SEC Commissioner Elisse B. Walter
- March 28, 2011: Presentation to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro
In recognition of the growing importance of whistleblower litigation, The National Law Journal named the whistleblower attorney and advocacy law firm of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto as one of top fifty plaintiff’s law firms in the United States. The firm’s partners were officially named as among “America’s Elite Trial Lawyers.” In its September 29, 2014 article, “Elite Trial Lawyers: The 50 Leading Plaintiff’s Firms in America,” the National Law Journal named Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto as one of the firm’s “doing the most creative and most important work in the courtroom.”
- LawDragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers
- Washingtonian Lifetime Achievement Award: Top Lawyer 15+ Years
- White Collar Crime Trailblazer, National Law Journal 2015
- “Elite Trial Lawyers” Designation, National Law Journal 2014
- 100 Most Influential in Business Ethics, Ethisphere Magazine 2014
- America’s Most Honored Professionals, American Registry
- A-V Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell®
- Top Attorneys, American Registry
- Top Attorneys, Washington DC Super Lawyers
- Super Lawyer® Designation
- National Law Journal, “Hot List” of Plaintiff’s Law Firms
- Friend of the IEEE Award
- Hobby v. Georgia Power Company (judge’s order granting attorney fee application)( “among the most experienced and skilled attorneys practicing in the specialty of whistleblower litigation.”) (2001).
- Capital Gains, Bloomberg-TV (Aug. 11, 2013) (featuring KKC as leading whistleblower firm)
- Judicial recognition: “among the most experienced and skilled attorneys practicing in the specialty of whistleblower litigation,”Hobby v. Georgia Power Company (2001).
BBC, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, MSNBC, FOX, RT, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Constitution, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time Magazine, National Law Journal, and Vanity Fair.
- APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Symposium, Seoul, Korea (whistleblowing represents the most effective tool available to detect and end corruption)
- The Jerusalem Conference for Quality Government, Jerusalem, Israel (The success and availability of international whistleblower protections)
- 21st Economic Forum Krynica, Poland (Anti-corruption impact resulting from effective whistleblower protections and rewards)
- Croatia Investigative journalists Panel (Topic: understanding investigative reporting and journalistic methods in the United States)
- State Department International delegations from: Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa & Yemen (Lessons learned during the creation of whistleblower protections in America)
- Whistleblower Law: A Guide to Legal Protections for Corporate Employees (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004) (co-authored with Michael Kohn and Stephen M, Kohn). The Guide was highly praised by the two principle co-sponsors of the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate whistleblower law.
- The Labor Lawyer’s Guide to the Rights and Responsibilities of Employee Whistleblowers (Quorum Books, 1988) (co-authored with Stephen Kohn).
Law Review and Scholarly Articles
- An Overview of Federal and State Whistleblower Protection, 4 Antioch Law Journal 99 (Summer, 1986) (co-author).
- Conscientious Objection: A Constitutional Right, 21 New England Law Review 545 (1986) (co-author, the Hon. Frederick L. Brown, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Court of Appeals and Stephen Kohn).
- Human Rights and Freedom of Conscience in Administrative Law: A Critique of the Fugitive Slave Act and the Selective Service Act Through Use of the Liberty Fact Doctrine, 61 University of Detroit Journal of Urban Law 177 (Winter, 1984) (co-author, the Hon. Frederick L. Brown, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Court of Appeals).
What Clients are Saying
“I couldn’t have navigated the shark invested waters whistleblower face without the passion, dedication, determination, and brilliance of my incredible attorneys”
“…the three co-founders of the National Whistleblower Center, these are important names, Stephen Kohn, Michael, Kohn and David Colapinto, thank you so much for all that you do, they broke the mold with these visionaries and we are all better for it.” (National Whistleblower Day, 2018)
“I just finished reading the brief that Mike and Steve Kohn developed on my appeal to the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. It is, unquestionably, the most professionally developed legal document I have reviewed in thirty-years . . . Each has my eternal thanks and appreciation. They have helped to restore my faith in the legal profession.”
“It is with much joy and great pleasure to most sincerely congratulate you for your great victory in defending the case of our blood bother Dennis Brutus, one of the most distinguished sons of our beloved country South Africa. We have no doubt the entire progressive world joins us in our unqualified gratitude to your great wonderful achievement in succeeding to rescue Brutus from the subsequent agonizing predicament in which he would find himself if the case was lost.”
“I want to try to express my feelings of gratitude for what you are doing for me, but I’m not sure that words will do the job . . . The bureaucrats almost won; not because they were legally right, but rather, because they have the power and influence to be able to crush any resistance . . . You are rendering a great service, not only to individuals like myself, but to our country a well.”
“Among the most experienced and skilled attorneys practicing in the specialization of whistleblower law.”
“Mike Kohn’s passion for fighting for his clients is simply remarkable.”
Our Client Received the Largest Whistleblower Reward in World History of $104 Million
Bradley Birkenfeld broke the back of Swiss bank secrecy. He was the first Swiss banker to file a case under the IRS whistleblower law. The results were unprecedented. UBS bank (at the time the largest bank in the world) had to pay a fine of $780 million. They also had to close all known U.S. accounts, and for the first time in history, the bank turned over the names of 4450 U.S. taxpayers for prosecution in the United States. Mr. Birkenfeld obtained the largest ever individual qui tam whistleblower award in history, $104 million.