If you think you have a case, it’s important that you talk with someone with expertise in the arena of False Claims Act, IRS, SEC, and CFTC whistleblower law. Getting the right lawyer and not making a mistake when filing, are key steps in winning a case.
Tips On How to Win Your Whistleblower Case
Don't try to move forward without a lawyer.
The federal government only joins about 150 whistleblower cases a year. If you do not present a well-framed legal and factual case, there is very little chance the government will consider your case over the myriad other cases before them that are well-presented, well-documented, and legally-cogent. After reviewing over 1,000 successful whistleblower cases filed under the False Claims Act, we could not find a single case that was won without help from a private lawyer. You have one chance to get your case properly filed and presented -- it's best to do it right.
Don't pay attorney's fees up front.
You need an attorney who is competent, and who will help you evaluate the calculated risk of filing a False Claims Act case. The last thing you want to do is file a losing False Claims Act case that drains you of hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and which leaves your reputation in tatters. By hiring a lawyer under a contingency agreement in which the lawyer is paid out of any future recovery, you are hiring a lawyer with a vested interest in your case's success, and who is unlikely to proceed unless he or she thinks success is likely. If no competent False Claims Act attorney will take your case on a contingency basis, you probably do not want to file a False Claims Act case.
Hire an experienced whistleblower attorney.
You need an attorney who understands how to file a case and knows where to file a case. You want an attorney who knows the pitfalls of False Claims Act, IRS, and SEC litigation, and how to avoid them. You want an attorney who understands that the government is not the enemy, and who also understands how your case can be leveraged and expanded to achieve a maximum impact. If your attorney is new to the False Claims Act, SEC, IRS or CFTC arenas, he or she needs to be willing to partner with an experienced lawyer so that mistakes are avoided, as those mistakes are sure to cost you time and money.
Consider law firms beyond your city and state.
Most large cases are national in scope and deal with frauds against core government programs and institutions, such as Medicare, Medicaid, the IRS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, HUD, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the SEC, FEMA, Department of Transportation, etc. The relationship between your lawyer and officials with the U.S. Department of Justice and the relationship between your lawyer and those few U.S. Attorney Offices that actually file cases similar to yours are far more important than where your lawyer resides.
Check for TAF Education Fund Membership.
No one covers False Claims Act, SEC, IRS and CFTC legal developments with the same intensity as Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund. Our plaintiffs-only list-serve unites the whistleblower bar and is a key source of real-time developments in the whistleblower arena. When new law is being made, our sister organization, Taxpayers Against Fraud, is the organization that steps up to the plate to defend the law and whistleblower rights. We suggest asking any attorney you are considering hiring whether they are members of the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund.