Looking for an honest, highly experienced and hands-on whistleblower attorney? You’ve landed in the right place. Tim McCormack is one of the very best qui tam lawyers in the country. Scheduling a completely confidential conversation about your case won’t cost you a thing and doesn’t commit you any course of action.
If you can’t work with Tim, you still need to find an attorney you can trust to tell you how to file a whistleblower complaint. Because whistleblowing cases can bring a lawyer big headlines and big bucks in whistleblower settlements, many lawyers pretend to be an experienced qui tam attorney when they are not. Whistleblower law is complex and quality representation is critical.
How can you tell if a healthcare fraud attorney, securities fraud attorney or qui tam lawyer has the knowledge, experience and integrity you need to provide you with effective whistleblower protection? Here are the red flags and green lights to watch for whenever you interview a potential whistleblower attorney:
- LOOK FOR EXPERIENCE.
Ask your lawyer to show you the whistleblower cases they have handled personally. Look for quantity over quality. Why? What matters most in any whistleblower case is the information the whistleblower can provide. Big settlements do not tell you if a lawyer is good—big settlements tell you the whistleblower they represented had very good evidence of a very big crime. The best tax fraud lawyers, securities fraud lawyers and other whistleblower attorneys will have at least five or ten successful settlements to show you. Even if your lawyer claims they cannot tell you about their cases because they are all under seal (a common way courts protect the confidentiality of the case) you can still ask broad questions about the types of whistleblower cases, their outcomes, and your lawyer’s role. Hands-on experience matters. If your case turns into a legal firefight—and whistleblower cases often do—you need someone in the trenches with you who has been there.
- LOOK INTO THEIR CRYSTAL BALL.
Ask your lawyer how they see your case unfolding. No one can predict the future with certainty. A good lawyer can give you a good idea of how things are likely to go—and will be hesitant to go further. Avoid whistleblower lawyers who push you to make a quick trade or suggest that your workplace will want to settle quickly to avoid publicity. (That never happens in a whistleblower case.) A “quick settlement” in the whistleblowing world is often three years! Ask your lawyer to predict what they will do if the government declines to join your case. If your attorney swears to “Go all the way to the Supreme Court no matter what!” try not to get swept away by their passion. Yes, it can be done. But you should make decisions about how to proceed with the case one step at a time. Plus, if you go forward without the government, the risks are much higher and workplace retaliation will be much more severe … and you, not your lawyer, will be the one paying much of the emotional, reputational and financial price if you lose.
- LOOK FOR A GOOD LISTENER.
Pay attention to how your lawyer listens to you. Fast-talking, grandstanding, table-pounding attorneys are so fun to watch on TV but they are a terrible choice for a whistleblower case. You need a lawyer who will listen—to you and to the government—for your whistleblowing case to succeed. If you are constantly interrupted, talked over, or ignored by your lawyer, that is probably not a good match. You will be working with your attorney for three, five, perhaps even ten years. It’s perfectly fine to decide against working with a particular lawyer simply because you don’t click with their personality or feel comfortable with their approach.
- LOOK AT ALL YOUR OPTIONS.
A good whistleblower attorney will talk to you about other ways to blow the whistle without filing an FCA case. You can blow the whistle without going to court, you know. You could go to Congress, alert the media, call an anonymous tip line … and go on with your life. If an attorney acts like making a whistleblower complaint is your only choice, choose another lawyer.
- LOOK AT ALL THE DEALS ON THE TABLE.
What are the financial terms each lawyer is offering you? A typical contract for whistleblower representation will include a contingency (they only get paid if you win) plus attorney’s fees paid by the defendant if you win. The main difference between multiple offers will likely be the percentage of your potential whistleblower settlement each law firm wants to claim. You should not need to pay an hourly fee to your lawyer out of your own pocket — unless the lawyer is only representing you for employment / retaliation issues. You should not be asked to pay for expenses up front. Avoid firms that try to lock you in and make it difficult for you to fire them. Ask if any part of your case will be referred out. You want your attorney to ask for help if part of your case requires special expertise, but you also want to make sure they are referring you to the best attorney not just the one who will give them the highest referral fee.At the same time, you probably want your firm to be open to partnering with other firms on a big or complex case. Only the very largest law firms have the resources to handle a whistleblower case internally. Make sure that if a specialist is required, your whistleblower attorney will hire one.
- LOOK AT WHO WILL REALLY RUN YOUR CASE.
Ask your attorney who your personal point of contact will be. Who will take your calls? How responsive will they be? It’s perfectly normal for a senior associate or junior partner to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of a whistleblower case, but if you pick a firm because of the reputation and expertise of one of the senior partners, you have the right to expect that they will be personally and significantly involved in your case, guiding and executing the strategy, sitting in on critical calls, and willing to discuss your case with you when necessary.
- LOOK FAR AND WIDE.
In today’s technologically connected world, you do not need to work with a local lawyer. You can hire the best whistleblower attorney in the world if you want—no matter where you, or they, live.
When you work with Tim McCormack, you know you have chosen a world-class whistleblower attorney. Call 207-747-7639 or submit a case evaluation form to schedule a free, no-obligation, and completely confidential whistleblowing case review today.