The National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund (“Fund”) is an independent public interest law firm dedicated to providing pro bono assistance to whistleblowers by helping them locate attorneys willing to represent them in retaliation cases.

All communications with the Fund are considered confidential under the Attorney-Client Privilege. Read full Disclaimer.

Legal Assistance and Public Advocacy Since 1997

The Fund was founded in 1997 by attorney-directors of the National Whistleblower Center and the partners of the whistleblower law firm of Kohn, Kohn and Colapinto due to the tremendous need to find attorneys to represent whistleblowers fighting retaliation. Since its inception the Fund also provides representation to the National Whistleblower Center as the NWC battles to increase legal protections for whistleblowers.

Since 1997, the Fund has sponsored a whistleblower legal assistance program for whistleblowers, attempting to locate private sector attorneys to provide representation to whistleblowers. This program has connected hundreds of whistleblowers with attorneys, many of whom have won significant cases. The Fund has never charged a fee to whistleblowers for these services. The Fund accepts intakes from government and private sector whistleblowers and reviews cases concerning retaliation and discrimination faced by whistleblowers.

In addition to these programs, the Fund provided legal representation to the National Whistleblower Center. This representation has primarily consisted of filing amicus curiae (“Friend of the Court”) briefs on behalf of the National Whistleblower Center on significant precedent-setting cases.

The Fund also co-founded the educational and advocacy website, the primary public education resource of the Fund and the National Whistleblower Center. The Fund also founded the Whistleblower Protection Blog at This blog became the online newspaper Whistleblower Network News in 2020.


The Fund operates a free-of-charge Attorney Referral Program (ARP) that seeks to match whistleblower with attorneys willing to take on their cases.   Whistleblowers seeking assistance can fill out a secure intake form and submit basic information about their cases on a confidential basis. This form permits the ARP to determine whether they have an attorney within their network who may be interested in representing the whistleblower.

The intake form, and all communication with the Fund, are protected under the attorney-client privilege to the fullest extent permitted under law. This review is conducted free of charge on a pro bono basis and is managed by an attorney licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia. The Fund is independent of the NWC, but provides legal representation to the NWC and helps fundraise for the NWC.

Because of the difficulty of matching whistleblowers with attorneys, we strongly recommend that all whistleblowers continue to try to locate an attorney while your case is under review. Also, in the strongest possible terms, we recommend that you obtain a copy of Rules for WhistleblowersThis book will help you understand the laws that may protect you and will help you explain to prospective attorneys the merits of your case.

Always remember you are NOT represented by an attorney until and unless you have a signed written representation agreement with an attorney. Also, always be aware that all whistleblower laws have a statute of limitations that requires claims be filed in a timely manner. Missing a filing deadline can result in your losing your case. Thus it is imperative that you learn about your rights and continue seeking counsel even though you have submitted an intake to our program.

Neither the National Whistleblower Center nor the Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund can provide legal advice as part of the Attorney Referral Program (“ARP”) intake process. To ensure the independence of the referral process, neither the Fund nor the NWC refer cases to themselves or attorney-employees or directors of these organizations. To directly contact the attorney trustees of the fund, please visit our About Us page and select an attorney.

Rules for Whistleblowers


Whistleblowers need to understand their legal rights. Understanding the laws that may cover you will help you in finding an attorney. It will enable you to explain the legal basis for your case and “sell” your case to counsel.

Additionally, understanding your legal rights is essential in protecting your job and in ensuring that your disclosures are lawful and covered under the whistleblower law.

Also, many whistleblower laws permit whistleblowers to qualify for rewards. These include the False Claims Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Internal Revenue Act, the Securities and Exchange Act, the Commodity Exchange Act, and the Auto Safety laws, among others. Whistleblowers need to understand how these laws work to ensure that you qualify for a reward if permitted under law.

To help you understand your rights. The Fund has several resources available to you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Whistleblower Network News asked the leading international experts in qui tam, compliance, and whistleblower law to provide us with the answers to Frequently Asked Questions of importance to whistleblowers and persons active in promoting effective internal compliance programs, anti-corruption activist and individuals interested in filing qui tam, SEC, IRS and FCA whistleblower reward disclosures.

There is no uniform definition of a whistleblower. However, the definition commonly used includes someone whose loyalty is to the truth, becomes an informant to the government on corporate crimes, or seeks monetary rewards under various whistleblower programs.

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If you are facing whistleblower retaliation as a result of whistleblowing, immediately obtain legal counsel from a whistleblower attorney. The reason is simple – what you blow the whistle on and the method you use to make your disclosure will determine your rights going forward.

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Reporting to internal compliance programs should be done with extreme caution, as the majority of programs are established to protect the company. There is a long history of whistleblowers experiencing retaliation, such as termination, shortly after reporting their concerns. Thus, if you see something, we suggest you speak with an attorney who can advise you on your rights, protections, and potential outcomes.

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