Choosing the right law firm to represent you in a whistleblower lawsuit is one of the most important decisions you will make, as it can ultimately affect the outcome of a qui tam case. Today, more and more people are going online to search for legal representation. While the Internet is a great tool for discovering information about qui tam lawyers, you should also be aware that some websites misrepresent a law firms’ experience and success in qui tam. When you are in need of an experienced qui tam attorney, here are some questions to ask and issues to consider while searching the Internet:
Is qui tam the law firm’s area of expertise? On the Internet, there are many law firms who specifically design websites so that it looks like the firm specializes in representing only whistleblowers. However, in reality, their expertise actually lies in other areas of law. The federal False Claims Act is a very detailed and complex niche of the legal field and inexperienced lawyers could easily misinterpret important statutes or provisions. Without a law firm that truly specializes in the qui tam area, your case may be destined to fail.
Success with qui tam False Claims Act cases: You will want to make sure the law firm has not only experience with qui tam lawsuits, but success as well. Some websites claim that the law firms’ have won large cases, however they fail to tell you that the cases were not federal False Claims Act cases. This should make a huge difference in your decision. When consulting with a qui tam attorney, ask them to give you specific examples of the firms’ success under the False Claims Act and how much they have been able to recover for their qui tam clients.
Attorneys’ experience with whistleblower lawsuits: If the law firm has a large staff made up of several lawyers, are they experienced with representing whistleblowers in qui tam lawsuits? This is a vital key to the success of your claim. When you have a toothache, you wouldn’t enlist a podiatrist to do your crown, right? It is the same concept with your whistleblower lawsuit. You would never hire a personal injury attorney to represent you in a qui tam case.
List of False Claims Act cases: Many law firms’ websites claim to have experience with specific qui tam cases, but are those cases ones that the firm actually filed and litigated? Some websites will even list sample False Claims Act cases as if they were their own, when they really are not. This is just a way to make it appear the firm has experience in the qui tam area.
Is the website an actual law firm or just a legal referral service? Unfortunately, there are legal referral services who build websites to make it look as if they are real law firms. In reality, these are just companies that find qui tam cases and sell them to law firms willing to pay a fee for their services. For example, does the website list the names of the lawyers or the law firm? If there aren’t any specific qui tam attorneys listed on the website, it is a strong indication that you may be looking at a referral service and not a law firm. Another red flag would be if you cannot locate a physical address for the law firm on the website. If there is nothing but a mailbox number listed as the address, it is likely a legal referral service.
Does the law firm have experience working with the United States Department of Justice? You ultimately want to give yourself the best opportunity to bring a successful qui tam case. Your chances of winning a whistleblower case increase exponentially if the government decides to join the lawsuit. Find out if the law firm has working relationships with the government, what they did during previous qui tam cases to convince the government to join the case and what the end results were.
Does the law firm have resources to successfully litigate a qui tam lawsuit? False Claims Act cases can be very expensive, from the filing of court documents to the hiring of consultants and experts. Often, a qui tam case will require the attention of multiple lawyers at the same time, so the firm should also have other attorneys available to assist with the whistleblower suit.
From fake law firm websites to misleading legal referral services, it is clear to see you must do your research when choosing a qui tam lawyer online. By asking the right questions and looking a little deeper, you can find the right qui tam attorney to represent you during a whistleblower lawsuit.