A whistleblower is someone who comes forward with information that exposes wrongdoing, reports fraudulent activity, and is usually risking everything to do so, especially when doing so reveals problems within a government and sometimes private businesses, which follow a different legal path. In these cases, it is important to have a lawyer to help during the complicated, stressful process.
Whistleblower law firms, specializing in whistleblower law, help with a case from initial reports to final disposition. It’s important to know what your legal options are for reporting fraud or starting a lawsuit.
When you expose a federal fraud, this starts with a federal claim that shows you as a federal employee discovers the federal government violated federal laws. This type of case will go to federal court, and you will need legal help. You might need a legal professional who is trusted with good reviews and a long history of reputable clients to help you under the False Claims Act, a federal law designed to encourage people who know about fraudulent activity within the government to report it. Whistleblower laws typically offer some sort of protection against retribution for the people who are whistleblowing and in some cases a financial reward.
If you are considering hiring the best whistleblower lawyer near you, make sure your situation qualifies. Any situation where you have evidence of legal wrongdoing, where the government is acting fraudulently or breaking the law, qualifies as a whistleblower case as long as you have the evidence to corroborate your claim. If you are unsure, you can always reach out to a whistleblower attorney who offers a free consultation to get more information.
You can choose a whistleblower attorney near you based on their experience and qualifications.
Make sure you pick someone who has the right experience. Every whistleblower claim is different so you need someone with extensive experience using the False Claims Act. They can help you determine whether you have a case and what information and evidence you need to collect.
The whistleblower attorney you hired should have a significant track record of successful recoveries for whistleblowers. Just because they are qualified professionals with the right licensing and experience doesn’t mean they can get results. You want someone with a history of successfully solving cases and working with investigators, attorneys, and government agents together.
Equally important is hiring a whistleblower attorney near you who has a specialization in litigating whistleblower cases. You don’t want someone who specializes in things like personal injury claims but rather, someone with actual expertise fighting fraud in the government. You should see a list of cases they’ve handled or they participated in.
If you need to find whistleblower lawyers near you, a good place to start is with referrals such as the American Bar Association or other professional organizations.
The National Whistleblower Center has a section dedicated to helping you find good whistleblower lawyers near you. You simply fill out a secure intake form that allows you to submit confidential information, and everything is automatically protected under attorney-client privilege. Then, the national whistleblower legal defense and education fund will find experienced whistleblower attorneys in your area who can take on the case. If you use this resource, then the review is free of charge so you don’t pay for a consultation, and they might take on the case pro bono.
When you work with a whistleblower lawyer near you, they will usually charge per hour. Hourly rates can vary depending on where you live but are typically between $200 and $500+ per hour. If you are in a larger city like San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles, you can expect to pay more, and if you are working with a highly qualified law firm with a long track record of whistleblower cases, the rates will also go up. This is something you can discuss during the consultation because you might expect to pay a specific hourly rate of maybe $500 per hour only in situations where the head attorney is working on your case but if paralegals or secretaries work on your case, you might pay only $100 per hour.
Whistleblower attorneys may or may not charge for a consultation. This is up to each attorney to decide. If, for example, you are using resources like the national whistleblower legal defense and education fund, you don’t get charged for a consultation. If you go through referrals or you use the American Bar Association to find a whistleblower attorney who is qualified in your area, you can check on their website. Usually, law firms will say on their websites whether they charge for consultations or whether consultations are free. If there is no information on their websites, you can always call them and ask. Larger law firms with a significant track record of successful whistleblower cases might charge for consultations, but you can get a great deal of information from that consultation making it well worth the money.
This is something you can discuss with an experienced attorney during your consultation. Each law firm can choose whether they want to charge a percentage of your final settlement or by the hour. It’s important to discuss this ahead of time so you know what to expect.
In any legal situation, you can represent yourself, but when it comes to whistleblower cases, it is significantly better for you to have legal representation.
Realistically, you need a whistleblower attorney if you are dealing with a whistleblower case. Federal law can be very complex and even small mistakes can result in jail time, fines, or a case being thrown out. Make sure you evaluate the different attorneys you are considering during your consultation. Ask whether they have taken on cases similar to yours and what the results were.