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4 Things to Look for in a Whistleblower Attorney in Miami
Thursday, March 14, 2024

If you have uncovered evidence of illegal activity or fraud or some other type of corporate misconduct while at work in Miami, you do not just need a whistleblower lawyer – you need the right whistleblower lawyer. Contrary to popular belief, not all whistleblower attorneys are the same. There are numerous sub-fields in the practice area, and getting the one that is right for your case can be difficult if you do not understand the differences between them.

Read on to learn four things that you should keep in mind when you are looking for experienced Miami whistleblower lawyers.

  1. A Lawyer with a Background in the Topic at Hand

Probably the most important thing to know about the field of whistleblower law is that it refers to the process of filing a claim rather than the substance of that claim. Whistleblower attorneys help private citizens with qui tam cases by notifying the government of certain types of misconduct and, if the government declines to pursue the case, then file a whistleblower lawsuit against the culprit and recover a share of the winnings. 

However, the types of misconduct that could give rise to a whistleblower claim are extremely broad. Whistleblower cases can be, and have been, filed over such disparate matters as:

  • Environmental violations, like a corporation’s secretive pollution or contamination of groundwater
  • Pharmaceutical fraud, like a drug company’s unlawful efforts to manipulate the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Investment fraud, like a startup company’s dishonest attempts to attract investment
  • Securities fraud, such as a brokerage firm that lies about transactions it makes on behalf of clients to charge them more
  • Tax or corporate fraud, like a company devaluing its assets to reduce its state and federal tax liability
  • Accounting fraud, such as when in-house accountants are told to fabricate assets to make the company look better
  • False claims against the government, like fraudulent billing by a healthcare company against Medicare or Medicaid

While they all can lead to whistleblower claims, each of these incidents involves a completely different set of circumstances that require an understanding of a different field or industry. You need a whistleblower lawyer for your field, not some completely different one. If you are blowing the whistle on tax fraud, you need a lawyer who understands the Whistleblower Protection Act and how taxes work, not one who is intimately familiar with environmental regulations.

When you look for a whistleblower lawyer, then, you should pay attention to the types of whistleblower cases that they have handled in the past. If you have uncovered evidence of healthcare fraud, then a lawyer with a strong record of success in whistleblower cases involving securities fraud may not be the best one for you, even if they are incredibly successful. You should also pay attention to their undergraduate degree, prior work history, as well as any professional certifications that they have to determine their level of intimacy with the subject matter of your case. You need whistleblower lawyers who understand your field of work and who do not need an explanation about why the evidence that you have found is problematic and needs to be brought to light.

  1. A Law Firm With the Resources to Take Your Case to Court

Another important thing to understand about whistleblower cases is that the goal is usually to convince the government to intervene and take the case over. However, intervention by a federal agency is entirely within the agency’s discretion and is not guaranteed. Even strong cases that are in the public interest get declined from time to time.

Should this happen to your whistleblower case, you will typically still have the opportunity to pursue it yourself in court. Most whistleblowers would rather do this than just drop the entire case that they have put together at such risk to themselves. 

However, moving forward on your own, without the government’s intervention, is a big task. It will be up to you and your legal team to investigate what an entire federal agency would have conducted.

  1. A Transparent Contingency Fee Structure

Depending on the specific federal law that you are invoking for your whistleblower case and whether the government agency intervenes in it, you stand to recover a share of the winnings.

Typically, Florida whistleblower attorneys will use a contingency fee structure. This means that you do not pay them upfront or during the case. Instead, they will collect a share of the winnings, if there are any.

How much they will take from your reward should be clear. Furthermore, the stated fee agreement should also mention whether that percentage is before or after the costs of the case are allocated. Whistleblower cases can end up being quite expensive to pursue, so whether your attorneys’ fees are deducted before or after the costs of the case can end up making a big difference in what you get.

  1. Access to Employment Lawyers

Whistleblower laws generally insulate whistleblowers from retaliation in the workplace. However, just because it is unlawful does not mean that all employers will not take action against you once it becomes clear that you are the one who is disclosing sensitive and damning information about the company to the government or the public.

If you are an employee of the company that you are blowing the whistle on, you will want a whistleblower lawyer or law firm knowledgeable of federal and state laws who can also help you fight for your rights in the workplace. An employment lawyer can help you initiate a wrongful termination claim or may be able to deter your employer from making an adverse employment decision at all.

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