In honor of National Whistleblower Appreciation Day, which takes place on July 30, we asked some of our Whistleblower, Qui Tam & False Claims Act Practice Group attorneys why they practice qui tam law. Each of their reasons and motivations is unique, but there is a common theme throughout all of their answers: a deep respect for their clients.
“It is very satisfying to simultaneously represent these courageous and highly ethical individuals, our whistleblower clients, and at the same time pursue legal action against the perpetrators of fraud against our federal and state governments. My experience is that the whistleblowers who come to us are highly intelligent and their moral compasses will not allow them to be silent in the face of wrongdoing. I feel that doing this work and fighting corporate schemes to defraud is important, almost sacred work.”
“I practice qui tam law because I get to wear the white hat by punishing fraudsters, while at the same time representing someone with the courage to stand up to corporate wrongdoing.”
“Certain people just ‘go along to get along.’ Those are not our whistleblower clients. Our clients are committed and determined individuals who are unwilling to tolerate fraud and wrongdoing and want to hold the wrongdoer responsible. I’m proud to fully support and guide our clients in bringing a case under the False Claims Act or other whistleblower laws. I aim to provide enthusiastic, vigorous and high-quality representation on their behalf.”
“The reason why I practice qui tam is because not only is it intellectually stimulating, but you get to feel like you are on the ‘right side’ of things. In this area of law I am able to work with whistleblowers who are, generally speaking, principled, brave, and willing to take risks. These whistleblowers are fighting against large corporation, and most of the time are outnumbered and have been retaliated against for trying to do the right thing. It is my pleasure to work with these types of clients and to assist them, by doing everything I possibly can, in bringing fraud to light.”
“I feel very fortunate to represent whistleblowers professionally. Both of my parents were government employees, and like all Americans I have benefited from government programs all of my life. Among many other things, I was born in a municipal hospital, attended public schools, financed college and law school through subsidized loans, and I now have a son in public school. Social security and Medicaid have made my parents’ retirements comfortable, and some day will do the same for me. I have also enjoyed the protection of the armed forces every day of my life, without even noticing it.”
Private businesses contract with government agencies to provide all of these benefits, and many more. Sadly, greedy contractors have substantial incentives to defraud the government and taxpayers, whether by overcharging or by providing inferior products and services, costing us all money, and in many cases making us less safe. Government agencies need whistleblowers to keep contractors honest and efficient. They are a crucial part of a system that works for all Americans.”
“I am attracted to the qui tam practice because I strongly believe in government programs and hate the fact that vast amounts of money are diverted from the true goals of those programs because some companies cheat. In my experience, many of our clients have the same motivation for bringing their cases to us – a strong sense of justice and dislike of cheating. I have an enormous amount of respect for our clients because they are willing to proceed even after I spend a lot of time warning them about the likely employment and career risks, the long time period for cases to get resolved and the uphill battle for any case to prevail. When a case is successful, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to see companies and individuals held accountable for their frauds and to see my clients rewarded for their courageous efforts and long-term commitment to their cases.”
“I enjoy practicing qui tam law for several reasons. Most importantly, I get to represent courageous clients who are attempting to protect the Government from fraud, often at substantial personal risk. These cases are extremely important in ensuring that companies and individuals do not cheat the Government and, in that way, assist in ensuring that money allocated to government programs is used for its proper purpose. Given that whistleblowers are often in the best position to know about fraud and that government agencies often struggle to uncover fraud on their own, whistleblowers play an imperative role in safeguarding the integrity of these programs. Additionally, I enjoy qui tam law because it presents a wide array of subject areas. For example, in a single day, I may work on a Medicare fraud case and a defense contractor fraud case. Similarly, there is no such thing as a “cookie cutter” qui tam lawsuit. Every case presents unique challenges and opportunities, and this keeps my job very interesting.”
“Up to the time I graduated from law school and started practicing law as a litigator, I really had no idea how widespread fraud was in America today. Everyone I knew growing up worked hard and honestly, as do the vast majority of workers, business owners, and corporations in this country. However, I now understand that it is precisely because most people play by the rules that some fraudsters are able to get away with taking advantage of a trusting society. Even still, I’m grateful to live in a country where there are laws on the books that allow the honest, hardworking people who become aware of fraudulent schemes on the government to step forward and stop the wrongdoing. A phrase that is sometimes used to describe the thinking behind qui tam cases and the False Claims Act is “it takes a rogue to catch a rogue,” but I think the characterization of whistleblowers as “rogues” cast from the same mold as fraudsters is flat wrong. To step forward and call out a fraud on the government that is being perpetrated by your employer, your fellow co-workers, and maybe even your friends takes intelligence, integrity, and resolve. Not that anyone is a perfect person, but I think a more accurate description of qui tam work would be “it takes a hero to catch a rouge,” and I’m proud to say that I go to work in the trenches every day alongside the heroes.”
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