While the federal False Claims Act has been on the books for close to a century and a half since the original was passed in 1863, recent amendments and a corresponding increased interest in government prosecutions in these tough economic times has led to a heightened awareness of individuals’ rights to report fraud on the government and to receive a reward for doing so in the event of a recovery.To file a qui tam complaint under the FCA or any of its state counterparts, a whistleblower must retain an attorney to do so.If you are considering stepping forward as a whistleblower, of course you want to make the right choice when deciding on what lawyer or lawyers to hire.Qui tam cases are quite unique in that in the early stages it is government prosecutors who dictate the course of the investigation into your allegations.During this time period, the whistleblower’s lawyers in many cases are merely assisting.However, as the case investigation continues, the role of the whistleblower attorney remains important.For example, there may come a point in time where the government decides for one reason or another that it will not intervene in the case which means that the whistleblower and his or her attorneys have to decide whether to litigate the case without the government’s assistance.As more and more whistleblower cases are filed and government resources are stretched thin, this scenario has become more common.Therefore, it is imperative when selecting a lawyer in this area to inquire as to the lawyer’s experience in both case investigations and actual litigation.Many people don’t realize that many “whistleblower” lawyers have never seen the inside of a courtroom which does not bode well for clients who face the decision of whether to litigate a qui tam case when the government decides not to intervene.When deciding on what lawyers to hire when considering filing a whistleblower case you should ask the following questions:
•How long have you been representing whistleblowers and in what types of cases?
•How many of your whistleblower cases have resulted in recoveries?
•How long have you been practicing and how many cases have you tried to verdict?
•Have you ever tried any government fraud cases before a jury?
•Have you ever tried any cases before a jury? (Believe it or not many lawyers have never done this).
•Does your firm have the financial resources to litigate a whistleblower case when the government decides not to intervene in a case?
•Has your firm ever litigated a whistleblower case without government intervention?
These are all important questions that whistleblowers should ask each and every lawyer that they consult with before deciding on representation.If any of the answers are not satisfactory, you should not hesitate to move on to another lawyer who does have the requisite experience and expertise in the area of whistleblower law.
Young Law Group, P.C., Attorneys-at-Law, represents whistleblowers nationwide. For a free confidential consultation, please call Eric L. Young, Esquire at 1-800-590-4116 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.