Johnnie Cochran photo via Wikipedia
Johnnie Cochran photo via Wikipedia

In life Johnnie Cochran was an eminently quotable individual who was not afraid to rhyme in the courtroom. In his memory, perhaps the members of his eponymous firm might be saying “if the whistle blows, the worker knows,” or “if you blow the whistle, I’ll write an epistle.” Chances are, he’d have something far cleverer than that.

Either way, his firm might want to brush up on their whistleblower-related rhyming, as The Cochran firm’s Washington-area office has set its sights on building a whistleblower practice. The firm hopes to represent individuals who submit information to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) whistleblower program, as outlined in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The program itself has picked up momentum recently, thanks in large part to an October 2013 award from the SEC that gave $14 million to an individual who blew the whistle on financial malfeasance. Since then, the SEC has given out other awards, though none quite as substantial. Still, whistleblowers representation is an area of law that is underserved but potentially lucrative.

“There’s real potential and promise here because of the reality of the insider trading and securities violations that are going on,” said David Haynes, managing partner of the Cochran Firm’s DC office to the Wall Street Journal. And, based on the fact that the whistleblower can be awarded up to 30 percent of the amount the SEC collects, and considering the fact that the SEC enforcement actions can rake in hundreds of millions of dollars, there is certainly the opportunity for the firm to make good money while providing a valuable service for individuals who have seen wrongdoing and want to bring it to light. As Cochran himself might have said, “there’s nothing lower than being an underrepresented whistleblower.” 

Or something like that.


For more whistleblower news, check out the following:

Whistleblower speaks out about Justice Department settlement

Edward Snowden: Criminal or whistleblower?

Facts & Figures: SEC says FCPA enforcement actions down by two-thirds

SEC generates fewer enforcement actions, brings in record $3.4B in sanctions