Students at Cornell Law School interested in the federal False Claims Act can now take a course dedicated to the rapidly expanding area of citizen-initiated whistleblower actions.

The elective, Whistleblower Law: Involving Private Citizens in Public Law Enforcement, focuses on qui tam provisions of the federal and state False Claims Acts, as well as SEC, IRS and other whistleblower laws. Students will also learn about legal provisions protecting employee whistleblowers from retaliation.

Dean Stewart Schwab is co-teaching the course with Cornell Law alum Neil Getnick, managing partner of Getnick & Getnick in Manhattan. Students also will hear from 40 guest lecturers throughout the semester.

"We’re bringing in top-flight folks from all three sides: the whistleblowers, the defense bar and the government," Schwab said in an interview.

Recent guests have included Greg Krakower, senior adviser and counselor to the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who played a role in drafting recent amendments to the New York state False Claims Act, and Cheryl Eckard, the former GlaxoSmithKline quality manager who filed a whistleblower suit resulting in a $750 million settlement over contaminated drugs.

The idea for the course has been in the works for several years. It’s particularly timely now, Schwab said, given the increase in the number of federal and state whistleblower laws and cases.