Cornell Law School Whistleblower Class

Managing Partner Neil Getnick was appointed an adjunct professor at Cornell Law School in the spring semester of 2013.  Together with law school dean Stewart Schwab, he co-launched a course on “Whistleblower Law: Involving Private Citizens in Public Law Enforcement”  –   the first of its kind in the country  –  under the auspices of the law school’s Business Law Institute.

The focus of the course is citizen-initiative enforcement under the qui tam provisions of the federal and state False Claims Acts and other whistleblower laws, including the SEC, CFTC, and IRS whistleblower programs. It also looks at federal laws protecting qui tam employee-whistleblowers from retaliation, as well as examining more broadly issues relating to combating corruption and promoting business integrity.

The 2013 course featured more than forty guest lecturers — leading practitioners representing plaintiffs, defendants, and the government — including G&G partners Margaret Finerty and Lesley Ann Skillen, and former G&G whistleblower client Cheryl Eckard whose qui tam resulted in a $750M global settlement.

Other guest lecturers in 2013 included:

  • Gregory Krakower, Senior Advisor and Counselor to the Attorney General at the New York State Attorney General’s Office
  • Sara Bloom, Assistant United States Attorney in the Economic Crimes Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts
  • Daniel R. Anderson, Deputy Director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice
  • Patrick Burns, Director of Communications for Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund
  • John Phillips, founding partner, Phillips & Cohen, LLP, Washington, DC
  • Jeb White, Nolan, Auerbach & White, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Jim Breen, Breen Law Firm, Alpharetta, GA
  • David Ogden, partner, Wilmer Hale, Washington, DC
  • Peter Hutt II, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, & Feld, Washington, D.C.
  • Katherine Lauer, Latham & Watkins, San Diego, CA.

The course was developed with Claire M. Sylvia, a partner in the law firm of Phillips & Cohen LLP, and author of the treatise The False Claims Act: Fraud Against the Government. Cleveland Lawrence III, Co-Executive Director at the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, also assisted in the development of the course.

Dean Schwab told the Corporate Crime Reporter: “The number of federal and state whistleblower laws has increased dramatically over the past several years, and we believe that a strong understanding of these matters will prove valuable to our students as they embark on their careers. The course is a good fit for the initiatives we are undertaking with our Clarke Business Law Institute and their focus on business integrity.”

The course will be offered again in 2015.