Changes in law always follow either actual or desired changes in society. The concept of “Homeland Security” is one result of 911. Cooley Law School (one of the biggest law schools in the United States) is developing an LL.M. program in Homeland Security. If the U.S. is successful in imposing FATCA Harmony on the world, I expect to see a proliferation of LL.M. programs in FATCA. After all, the legal profession and legal academics see FATCA as the “Gift that keeps on giving“.
Some laws are the result of public input and demand – we the people want this law. Some laws are result of the desire of governments to control society/initiate policy objectives – we the government want to direct and shape your lives. Some laws are initiated by governments and are then seen by the people as being beneficial to them – Whistle Blowers: I can make a profit off turning this person in!
Whistle Blower laws are in the third category. They are an attempt by governments to “divide and conquer” the people by turning them against each other for the benefit of the government. The story of Bradley Birkenfeld is an example of the third category.
In any case, Whistle Blower laws reflect a society that has pitted “citizen against citizen” for the benefit of governments. Leaving aside a discussion of the wisdom of this, it is also clear that the legal profession is the first beneficiary of new laws and policies.
It is hardly a surprise that the law schools are getting into the Act. For example, Cornell law school is now offering a law school course on “Whistle Blowing”. The course is described as follows:
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
I wonder whether Cornell is also offering a course on the ethics and morality of “Whistle Blower” laws.
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