Stephen M. Kohn - Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto LLP

About Whistleblower Attorney Stephen M. Kohn

Stephen M. Kohn is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading qui tam and whistleblower attorneys. He won the largest ever individual whistleblower reward/qui tam payment for UBS whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld ($104 million reward for Mr. Birkenfeld). His record of winning whistleblower cases dates back to 1984, and he was peer-review rated by the National Law Journal as one of the 50-top plaintiff’s lawyers in the United States, the only whistleblower rights lawyer to achieve this distinction. His successful advocacy has resulted in landmark precedents in whistleblower and qui tam law.

Kohn helped draft key whistleblower legislation and regulatory rules, including those incorporated into the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Dodd-Frank Act, the IRS Qui Tam whistleblower amendments, and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. He is the author of the first legal treatise on whistleblowing and is the world’s most published author on whistleblower protection. His most recent book is The New Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself. In 1988 he helped found the National Whistleblower Center, where is currently serves, pro bono, as Chairman of the Board. Steve Kohn also teaches an annual seminar on Whistleblower Law at the Northeastern University School of Law.

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.
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What Clients are Saying

Bradley Birkenfeld - Largest Whistleblower Reward in History

“The only lawyer on my side was Steve Kohn. He was as smart as they come and feisty as a pit bull. Steve was convinced the government owed me a fat reward, and he was going to get it, or die trying.”

“An absolutely first rate lawyer. . . keenly interested in utilizing the law as a rational instrument of social change and improving the quality of life or the week, the poor and the unpowerful.”

A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Former Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

“[Steve Kohn] is an outstanding person, with a very keen mind, a true gift for research, an extremely capable writer, and an eloquent speaker.”

Howard Zinn, Author, A People's History of the United States
Roger Wensil - A Client of Michael Kohn

“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.”

William Sanjour

“Steve Kohn is the nation’s outstanding whistleblower lawyer.”

Linda Tripp

“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

Jane Turner Thumbnail

“When I had to blow the whistle it was very very difficult. I was lucky I had my daughter and I was lucky I had Stephen Kohn in my life. . .he [Stephen Kohn] dragged me across the finish line . . . he stayed with me, he kept me going . . .”

Stephen Kohn - Top Whistleblower Attorney

Mr. Kohn’s major contributions to whistleblower law

  • Obtaining the largest reward ever granted an individual under U.S. whistleblower reward laws and first major award granted under the IRS rewards program ($104 million dollars).
  • Chief attorney in Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower case finding restrictive nondisclosure agreements illegal under U.S. securities laws.
  • Established key legal precedents under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Dodd-Frank Act and IRS Qui Tam whistleblower reward law, including ensuring that employees who “participated” in fraud were eligible for rewards provided they did not “plan and initiate” those frauds.
  • Successfully represented key Swiss banking whistleblowers who triggered the historic prosecutions of Swiss banks (resulting in over $15 billion in sanctions, fines and settlements).
  • Leading the National Whistleblower Center’s pro bono campaign to establish qui tam and whistleblower rewards for whistleblowers under the Lacey and Endangered Species Acts.
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Successful Legal Advocacy: Top Cases

Other Successful Cases

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Op-Ed and Opinion Articles

Media Appearances

ABC World News Tonight, BBC World News Tonight, BBC, “Burden of Proof” on CNN, “Capital Gains” on Bloomberg TV, CBS Evening News, CNN World News, “Crosstalk” on MSNBC, CSNBC, “The Early Show” on CBS, “Good Morning America” on ABC, “The Jack Ford Show” on MSNBC, “Hannity & Colmes” on FOXNEWS, “Hardball” on MSNBC, “The Johnnie Cochran Show” on Court-TV, “Larry King Live” on CNN, “Miller’s Law” on Court-TV, NBC Nightly News, “Nightline” on ABC, “The O’Reilly Factor” on FOXNEWS, “Primetime Live” on ABC, “Rivera Live” on MSNBC, “The Today Show” on NBC, “Close-Up” on C-SPAN, “60 Minutes” on CBS, “Washington Journal,” “HuffPost Live” and on CSPAN.

Whistleblower Attorney - Stephen Kohn

Whistleblower Law Books

Stephen Kohn wrote the first ever legal law book on whistleblower law and is one of the most published authors on whistleblower law. He has taught classes on whistleblower law at the Northeastern University School of Law, as well as Antioch School of Law.

Published Whistleblower Books
Law Reviews & Scholarly Articles
Whistleblower Handbook - Stephen M. Kohn

Steve’s Latest Book: The New Whistleblower’s Handbook

“If you’re among the 34% of Americans who have seen wrongdoing at their job, you may want to add this book to your Christmas wish list. Just don’t let your boss catch you reading it.”

The Wall Street Journal

“For the past 25 years, Kohn’s been in the trenches fighting the whistleblower wars. The lessons learned from those wars have been distilled in this book.”

“With the Holy Bible in one hand and Mr. Kohn’s Whistleblower Handbook in the other, my wife crushed a powerful corporation.”

“Top ten books about whistleblowers”

PEN Center, USA

“Vastly shrewd and practical, but it also offers an astute long view of American whistle-blowing.”

The Boston Globe

“This book arms the whistleblower with the vital ammunition needed to effectively document corruption, while guiding them in how to Read More”

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Stephen Kohn presents Senator Charles Grassley with an award recognizing his “Quarter Century as the Champion for Whistleblowers in the United States Senate.” (Dated: May 2007)

Awards and Recognition

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.”

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Top Whistleblower Attorney - SEC Presentations

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.

Public Interest Advocacy

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 pursing 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.

International Presentations
Whistleblower Attorney - Congressional Hearings

Fighting in Congress for Expanded Whistleblower and Qui Tam Rights

Whistleblower attorney Stephen M. Kohn and partners of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto regularly advise congress on crafting whistleblower laws and have played 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.

Congressional Testimony

Bar Admissions and Education

Whistleblower Attorney - Bar Admissions
Bar Admission & Practice Areas
Top Whistleblower Attorney - Education
Education