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Law360 Quotes TELG Attorney on In-House Attorney Turned Whistleblowers

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Ryan Davis wrote an article titled Courts Grapple With In-House Atty Whistleblower Suits in which he discusses how courts have had difficulty deciding a host of thorny issues that arise when in-house attorneys blow the whistle on illegal activity.  These issues often include the scope of attorney-client privilege and confidentiality among other issues, but Jason Zuckerman, a principal attorney at The Employment Law Group® law firm, argues that attorneys should be allowed to report illegal or fraudulent activity.  He is quoted in the article further expressing his thoughts on these issues:

The claims [by in-house attorneys] can be acrimonious because the attorneys feel they were doing the right thing to get the company to comply with the law, and the company feels betrayed by a trusted adviser, said Jason Zuckerman, principal of The Employment Law Group, which represents whistleblower plaintiffs.

In-house counsel who blow the whistle are never eager to do so, said Zuckerman, the plaintiffs lawyer. They feel they have no other choice to expose misconduct at their companies and essentially destroy their careers in the process, he said.

“It’s not easy for in-house counsel to proceed with these suits. It really takes a lot of courage,” Zuckerman said.

Allowing in-house counsel to pursue whistleblower claims would lead to greater exposure of corporate malfeasance, he said, speculating that attorneys at Lehman Brothers and other scandal-ridden companies must have known what was going on but chose to look the other way.

“I think that it is important in certain instances for in-house counsel to draw a line in the sand, and act not only as an officer of the corporation, but also has an officer of the court,” he said. “If they put themselves on the line and get their head chopped off, it’s important that they can bring a claim.”

 

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