Alumni Short

Cornell Law School Offers New Course on Whistleblower Laws

Ithaca, NEW YORK, February 13, 2013

This semester, Cornell Law School is offering a new course, titled “Whistleblower Law: Involving Private Citizens in Public Law Enforcement,” analyzing how the law protects and encourages whistleblowers who report wrongdoing.

“The number of federal and state whistleblower laws has increased dramatically over the past several years, and we believe that a strong understanding of these matters will prove valuable to our students as they embark on their careers,” said Stewart J. Schwab, The Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law.

Dean Schwab co-teaches the course with Neil Getnick ’78, managing partner of the Manhattan law firm Getnick & Getnick LLP. Mr. Getnick, chairman of the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund, has handled some of the nation’s largest whistleblower cases. Dean Schwab and Mr. Getnick will be joined by more than forty leading practitioners representing plaintiffs, defendants, and the government who will assist as guest lecturers.

Mr. Getnick said whistleblower laws are increasingly being used by the government to combat fraud throughout the country and internationally. “These laws have become essential tools for fighting fraud, and knowledge of their complexities is important for both government lawyers and lawyers in private practice,” Mr. Getnick said.

The course focuses on citizen-initiative enforcement pursuant to the qui tam provisions of the Federal and state False Claims Acts and other whistleblower laws. It also looks at legal provisions protecting employee-whistleblowers from retaliation, as well as broader issues of combating corruption and promoting business integrity.

“The course is a good fit for the initiatives we are undertaking with our Clarke Business Law Institute and its focus on business integrity,” said Dean Schwab.

Some of the featured guest lecturers who have already spoken include:

  • Gregory Krakower, Senior Advisor and Counselor to the Attorney General at the New York State Attorney General’s Office
  • Sara Bloom, Assistant United States Attorney in the Economic Crimes Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts
  • Daniel R. Anderson, Deputy Director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice
  • Cheryl Eckard, the relator in U.S. ex rel. Eckard v. GlaxoSmithKline and SB Pharmco Puerto Rico
  • Lesley Ann Skillen, Getnick & Getnick LLP, New York, NY
  • Patrick Burns, Director of Communications for Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund
  • John Phillips, founding partner, Phillips & Cohen, LLP, Washington, DC
  • Claire Sylvia, partner, Phillips & Cohen, San Francisco, CA
  • David Ogden, partner, Wilmer Hale, Washington, DC