NWC weighs in on protecting the rights of attorney-whistleblowers

Today, corporations are on the move to conceal waste, fraud, bribery and corruption simply by having managers wear a lawyer hat on top of their management cap. The battle to protect in-house lawyers from retaliation for blowing the whistle internally or as permitted by federal whistleblower protection laws is of great concern. 

Yesterday, the National Whistleblower Center submitted a public comment to proposed ethics opinion 13-005 of the California State Bar. If issued the proposed opinion could bar most attorney-whistleblower claims. Whistleblower-attorneys could be barred from disclosing information that is already publicly available, such as information contained in SEC filings.

The NWC submitted its comment seeking to ensure that attorney-whistleblower rights are fully protected. The NWC recommended that the CA State Bar revise the proposed opinion “to explicitly address and carve out an exception for attorney-whistleblowers and be further refined to address and adopt the public policy considerations found in emerging federal common law and federal statutory protections.”

Related links:

NWC Public Comment on Proposed Ethics Opinion 13-005

CA State Bar Proposed Ethics Opinion 13-005

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