Why Lawyers and Whistleblowers Don't Mix -- Part 2

Westlaw Journal White-Collar Crime
11.17.14
In this article, the second of a two-part series, Members Timothy O'Toole and John Eustice and Senior Associate Jonathan Kossak address the risks present when lawyers become whistleblowers. The authors offer cautionary tales of lawyers who "attempted to cross the Rubicon despite the risks." They argue that, "Attorneys commonly make a number of mistakes when they imprudently blow the whistle on their employers. The first is doing so at all. This may sound simplistic, but our profession depends on a client's steadfast ability to rely on his lawyer's ability to keep secrets. Eroding that ability undermines the very notion of what lawyers do." Other mistakes include lawyers taking documents from the company without permission and exposing them to the public, and looking for a way to gain from their efforts -- such as whistleblower bounties or wrongful termination suits, and the authors present case scenarios outlining the frequent calamities that ensue. "If you believe the intent of this two-part series is to deter attorneys from blowing the whistle on clients, you're right," the authors conclude. "Our profession's survival depends on our ability to demonstrate to clients that they can entrust us with their most closely held confidences and secrets. Attorney whistleblowers destroy that trust."
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Why Lawyers and Whistleblowers Don't Mix -- Part 2