Lydia A. Pappas is an associate at The Employment Law Group® law firm who represents whistleblowers seeking to report fraud by their employers against the U.S. government.
Since joining the firm in 2016, Ms. Pappas has focused on cases involving laws that can provide vindication – and possibly a financial reward – to such clients. Among these statutes are the federal False Claims Act (FCA) and its state equivalents; the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act; the IRS whistleblower rewards program and the Taxpayer First Act; and the Financial Institutions Anti-Fraud Enforcement Act of 1990. Her interest in whistleblower law was sparked in her very first week as a TELG employee, when she was assigned to work with a client who wanted to expose a fraud scheme. She felt an immediate connection with the legal area – and with many of the firm’s whistleblower clients.
“Whistleblowers are everyday people who just want their companies to play by the rules,” she says. “I respect that. These people may be ignored by their employers, but they’re not ignored here.”
Ms. Pappas is often the first TELG attorney to speak with a whistleblower. During an initial telephone consultation, she gathers facts, explains the process, and discusses goals with prospective clients. Her aim is to be clear and supportive as, based on the firm’s experience, she gauges the likelihood of drawing support from U.S. government — a necessary ingredient for most fraud cases to succeed.
For cases that move forward, Ms. Pappas delves deeper into each whistleblower’s allegations during an initial evaluation period, identifying hurdles and determining how to frame the case effectively for possible presentation to government. By the time this stress-testing is done, she hopes to understand the case’s main strengths and weaknesses, proceeding only with claims likely to get a hearing.
After filing a lawsuit in federal court, Ms. Pappas works with government prosecutors during their investigation of clients’ allegations and supports the U.S. Department of Justice in its resolution of intervened qui tam matters. She works closely with each client to guide them through the litigation process, develop and explain legal theory, and prepare them for interviews with government representatives.
Prior to joining The Employment Law Group, Ms. Pappas worked at MercerTrigiani, LLP, a boutique law firm in Alexandria, Va., specializing in homeowners’ association law.
Ms. Pappas graduated from the Columbus School of Law’s evening J.D. program at Catholic University of America. While in law school, Ms. Pappas completed a certificate program through the university’s Comparative International Law Institute, specifically focusing on international business and trade law. As part of the Institute, Ms. Pappas also participated in the Summer Law Program at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, to study European Union Law and issues of international trade. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Pappas received a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Economics, cum laude, from Drexel University with a minor in Russian Language Studies.
Ms. Pappas is admitted to practice law in New York and the District of Columbia, and she handles cases from whistleblowers all over the United States. She is a member of the Federal Bar Association, the D.C. Women’s Bar Association, and the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association.
Ms. Pappas speaks conversational Greek. When off the clock, she values time with her family, reading, and attempting to play the violin. During the COVID-19 lockdown, she took an online class in photography and continues to enjoy shooting urban landscapes while exploring her neighborhood.
Lydia A. Pappas Associate
Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law
International Area Studies, concentrating in International Business & Economics