How We Are Paid

Contingency Fee Agreements

We represent most whistleblowers on a “contingency” basis. The process is very straightforwardsimple. Whistleblowers are not charged an hourly fee. Instead, we agree to represent whistleblowers in exchange for obtaining a percentage of a final recovery. In these cases, our clients are not required to pay any upfront attorney’s fees and owe us nothing if we are unable to obtain a recovery or award on their behalf.

In this manner we can represent whistleblowers regardless of whether they can afford attorney’s fees. Furthermore, our firm is incentivized to obtain the largest possible recovery. For more information on searching for a whistleblower attorney visit How To Choose The Best Whistleblower Lawyer?

Many law firms in Europe (and other countries around the world) only accept cases where a whistleblower can pay an hourly fee. We do not follow this practice. Contingency fee agreements ensure that whistleblowers will not be charged any hourly fees, and our firm is only paid if we win a case on your behalf.

Pro Bono

Since its founding in 1988 the whistleblower law firm of Kohn, Kohn, and Colapinto has dedicated thousands of hours providing free or “pro bono” legal services on behalf of whistleblowers and whistleblower advocacy organizations.

Our pro bono docket is dedicated to marshaling our years of experience to advance the rights of whistleblowers. We regularly file amicus curie briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and engage in legislative advocacy without charge to any clients or organizations. We have pursued numerous cases pro bono to establish legal precedents that help all whistleblowers.

Standard Billing Rate

Some whistleblower and civil rights laws have what is known as a “fee-shifting” provision that requires corporations or government agencies that retaliate against whistleblowers to pay the whistleblower’s attorney’s fees at “market rates.” The Freedom of Information Act and the False Claims Act also contain similar provisions. As a private law firm that practices law in the public interest, we sometimes are entitled to collect attorney fees under these “fee-shifting” laws from corporations and government agencies when we win cases on behalf of whistleblowers. However, the vast majority of our cases are pursued under a “contingency fee” arrangement.

When the firm bills a corporation or government agency for fees under these statutory attorney fee laws, the starting point for setting our firm’s market rate is the “Laffey Matrix.” The “Laffey Matrix” is a formula used by the courts to determine a fair attorney fee rate for lawyers representing public interest clients. Our firm’s market rate is set by the formula approved by the courts in the District of Columbia in the case of Salazar v. District of Columbia, 123 F. Supp. 2d 8, 13 (D.D.C. 2000). This Matrix sets a standard market fee but does not fully consider the expertise of the firm’s partners. It is based on an Attorney’s years of practice and is adjusted annually for inflation. The rate is adjusted to fully compensate the firm’s attorneys based on their expertise and years of experience beyond the 20-year floor set by the Matrix. See Purdue v. Kenny, 130 S.Ct. 1662 (2010).

For purposes of all attorney fee billings, including obtaining fees in fee-shifting cases, our firm uses the Laffey Matrix. To view the firm’s whistleblower attorney fees, please see the chart below:

Years Out of Law School *
Year Paralegal/
Law Clerk
1-3 4-7 8-10 11-19 20-24 25-29 30 +
6/01/19- 5/31/20 $203 $372 $458 $661 $747 $899 $1,022 $1,181