New law firms are relatively everyday occurrences, but a new firm set up in Washington DC has a new twist we haven’t heard of before: a Whistleblower-friendly firm that has launched a new False Claims Act law firm – ProtectUS Law.
Set up by False Claims Act relator and lawyer Neal Roberts (pictured), there is some experience going into the new outfit.
Roberts notes that over three decades of its life, the False Claims Acct has seen 3,500 cases resolved but only around 400 have settled for over $25 million.
ProtectUS Law has non-lawyer whistleblowers as firm members and he told Corporate Crime Reporter that his research has shown who the whistleblowers are, he knows what the recoveries are and that information is part of his competitive advantage over other firms operating in the area.
It’s information he does not believe any other firm has.
He spoke with Corporate Crime Reporter about his new firm:
“There is a wonderful organization that John Phillips founded — Taxpayers Against Fraud. I don’t know how it happened. But here is a public interest lawyer who settles his first case in the early 1990s. And he took the whole fee and set up a non profit educational institution to protect the law. And that’s called Taxpayers Against Fraud. And that group is dedicated to whistleblowers and their attorneys.”
“They brought together the top ten whistleblowers for dinner. And we brought in maybe $10 billion. And all of them were all lamenting the fact that they had this great expertise, they couldn’t get a job, and they weren’t lawyers. And they wanted to help whistleblowers. You live this life. And I said — it’s too bad that you couldn’t fix that — help relators help other relators.”
“These are people who are not old and want to keep working. That’s where the premise came from. In most jurisdictions, you can’t have non lawyers in the law firm sharing in actual individual cases. The District of Columbia was different. That rule was probably designed by members of Congress — non lawyers — who wanted to join a law firm to lobby.”
“They have a second rule, which I really like, which is that you can make loans to your clients to help them live. They know that unless a person can stay afloat until the case is brought, there is little chance of success. DC is probably the second biggest False Claims Act site in the country.”
What about other lawyers in the area, such as those at the false claims bar?
“They are all lawyers and lawyers are competitive. But I thought about that question going into it. The strength of our firm is first that we have non lawyer members. And second, we can make loans to individual relators if they need it. And third, we are putting together a fund to invest in cases. We can bring financing to False Claims Act cases that need experts. I was an expert in the big accounting firm cases. I’m friends with my colleagues in the false claims field. And I received a very cordial reception. It will be quite collaborative. The proof is in the pudding. But so far, no one is negative at all.”
He remains friends with John Phillips
“The last time they had a big meeting of Taxpayers Against Fraud, we went to his villa in Italy. It turns out that he has done well and is now the Ambassador to Italy. I stayed at his place. He’s a good guy. He’s done us all a great service by changing the law and founding Taxpayers Against Fraud.”
The lawyers in the Roberts firm include his son Daniel Roberts and Lee Glass.
“It was sad to me to know that other whistleblowers in big cases like my own, couldn’t get a job in a major industry. We provide a home for them. We are in the middle of negotiating our next wave of partners.
“They know everything there is to know about FDA testing, about hospital administration, about the arcane areas of Obamacare pricing. They bring this technical expertise. And we join them with three licensed investigators and two CPAs who are skilled with matters involving fraud. And then of course we have our lawyers who are good at doing what we do.”
– See more at Corporate Crime Reporter