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Attorney Referral Service FAQ

What is the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund?

How long does it take to process a referral?

Is there a referral fee?

How does the referral process work?

Does the referred attorney work for the Attorney Referral Service or the National Whistleblowers Center?

Where can I obtain information about my rights as a whistleblower?

How do I get an attorney referral?

Does the Fund provide legal advice to people obtaining a referral?

What does it mean if I get a letter saying that my report is out of scope or program?

As an attorney or whistleblower, is there anything else I should know about the ARS?

 

What is the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund?

It is a non-governmental, non-partisan, non-profit independent legal organization that works closely with the National Whistleblowers Center. The NWLDEF and the NWC are separate organizations.  The NWC is a non-profit educational and advocacy public interest group, while the NWLDEF is a not-for-profit legal services organization

How long does it take to process a referral?

It usually takes between five and ten business days to process a referral.

Is there a referral fee?

No. However, the Attorney Referral Service depends upon public contributions for support. Because of potential conflicts of interest, ARS does not receive any government or corporate funding. You may send a non-exempt donation to help keep the ARS operating made payable to the NWLDEF at 3238 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20007. If you wish to make a tax-exempt contribution to assist the National Whistleblowers Center with its work, click here.

How does the referral process work?

The ARS program is managed under the supervision of a licensed attorney. All information submitted is covered under the attorney-client privilege to fullest extend provided by law.

Every report we receive is reviewed by a paralegal specialist, who makes one of the following recommendations:

  1. Contact the whistleblower to obtain more information;
  2. Provide the whistleblower with a list of attorneys in the area of law that best fits the report;
  3. Make a directed referral to match the whistleblower with an attorney who has expertise in the area of law that best fits the report; or
  4. Direct the whistleblower to resources outside of the Fund (the report falls outside of the scope of the Attorney Referral Service)

These recomendations are reviewed by an attorney working with the Fund, and a decision is generally made within a week.

Does the referred attorney work for the Attorney Referral Service or the NWLDEF?

No. The referred attorneys are private and are not employed by the NWLDEF or the ARS. Private attorneys referred by the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund will make a decision to represent you completely independent of any recommendation of the NWLDEF or the ARS. If you decide to contact the referred attorney, negotiations for representation and fee arrangements are strictly between you and the attorney. The ARS, NWLDEF and NWC are not responsible for any part of the representation. The NWLDEF cannot guarantee that the attorney will take your case.

Where can I obtain information about my rights as a whistleblower?

The best resource on whistleblower law is Stephen M. Kohn's The Whistleblower's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What's Right and Protecting Yourself.  The Handbook is the first-ever consumer's guide to whistleblowing. It contains twenty-one clear and comprehensive rules that fully explain the how to effectively blow the whistle. This book is also available directly from the publisher, or at a public library. It is very important that you review this resource in order to determine what laws may protect you and whether you need to take immediate action to protect your rights. We also recommend that you visit the Know Your Rights section.

 

How do I get an attorney referral?

If you would like an attorney referral, please fill out the Confidential Report Form .

Does the Fund provide legal advice to people obtaining a referral?

The staff of the ARS does not provide any legal advice.  An attorney from the NWLDEF may directly contact you and discuss your case with you.  Any information provided by this attorney is preliminary in nature and is part of the case evaluation process.

The primary function of the Attorney Referral Service is to evaluate a claim and make an appropriate referral to an attorney or list of attorneys who may be able to provide advice.  Legal advice is typically provided to a whistleblower entering into a formal representation agreement with a referred attorney.

We strongly encourage you to continue your own efforts to find an attorney and obtain information about your rights and obligations. Whistleblower law is complex and some people lose their case due to minor problems.

What does it mean if I get a letter saying that my report is out of scope or program?

This letter means that a Fund attorney has reviewed your report and determined that we do not have an attorney in our network that is an adequate match for the contents of your report. This determination has no bearing whatsoever on the merits of your potential case.

 

As an attorney or whistleblower, is there anything else I should know about the ARS?

Yes. Please read our Disclaimer:

The Role of the Fund and ARS is Limited: The National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund (“Fund”) and the Attorney Referral Service (“ARS”) it manages attempts to provide legal referrals to whistleblowers who are in need of representation. The Fund/ARS is not responsible for any advice or information obtained from any attorney for which the Fund or the ARS makes a referral. It is the responsibility of each client/intake to enter into a private agreement with any of the attorneys for whom the Fund may make a referral, on terms independently negotiated between the client and the attorney. This representation agreement is strictly between the client and the attorney for which a referral was made. Unless stated explicitly in a written representation agreement (signed by the client and a representative of the Fund) the Fund is not a party to any representation agreement and is not entitled to any compensation from either the client or the referred attorney.

Information on the Web Sites Must be Independently Confirmed by you or your Attorney: As laws vary from state to state, and the interpretations of federal and state law are subject to change, only a lawyer for whom you enter into a written representation agreement can provide you with specific advice pertaining to your situation. By using this web site (www.whistleblowers.org) and/or the services of the ARS, you are agreeing that under no circumstances will the Fund/ARS, the National Whistleblower Center or any lawyer listed on the website www.whistleblowers.org be responsible for (1) any information contained on or omitted from the web site, (2) any person's reliance on any such information, (3) whether or not the information is correct, current or complete and (4) the consequences of any action you or any other person takes or fails to take, whether or not based on information provided by or as a result of the use of this site.

The Fund/ARS are Not Responsible for the Actions Taken by the Referred-Attorney: The Fund/ARS is not responsible for (1) any person's satisfaction with any lawyer for which a referral is made; (2) the results of any advice given by or representation from any lawyer for which a potential client is referred, or (3) the failure or refusal of any attorney to respond or provide a potential client with a consultation.

Referrals Made Based on the Judgment of the Fund/ARS Attorneys: The Fund/ARS intake staff provides an initial review of each intake. Final decisions on all referrals are made by an attorney. The decision whether or not to make a referral and/or what attorney or law firm to refer a potential client to remains in the sole discretion of the Fund. The Fund/ARS cannot guarantee that an intake will be approved for a referral, and cannot guarantee which attorney (if any) a potential client will be referred to. Participating in this program does not guarantee that a law firm will be given a referral or an intake will obtain a referral.

Confidentiality: The Fund/ARS will keep your information strictly confidential to the fullest extent permitted under law and will assert the attorney-client privilege should any person (other then yourself or your agent) request any information about you.

This page sponsored by the NWLDEF.

Please read our general Disclaimer .

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