Way back in 2010, I noted that given the recent passage of the whistleblower provisions in Dodd-Frank, some plaintiffs' lawyers believed that a lucrative new practice area might be brewing. Specifically, Section 922 of Dodd-Frank provides that any whistleblower who makes a claim may be represented by counsel, and must be represented by counsel if he or she wishes to submit the claim anonymously.
Indeed, I observed, some industrious plaintiffs' lawyers were going all-in on the concept. New York attorney Stuart Meissner actually created an advertisement that he ran in movie theaters in Manhattan. Meissner's ad (watch it here) was played prior to the showing of the 2010 movie, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," and referred potential whistleblowers to the firm's website, SECSnitch.com. Meissner's law firm was also aggressive in the earliest days of the SEC's whistleblower program, claiming to have filed the first-ever whistleblower complaint pursuant to the provisions of Dodd-Frank.
Fast forward six years and the early work Meissner's law firm put in seems to have paid off in a big way. As discussed here, last week the SEC announced a milestone award of $22.5 million to a whistleblower -- the second-largest whistleblower award ever issued by the SEC. That same day, the Meissner law firm confirmed that it had helped secure the $22.5 million award for its client, who was a former employee of Monsanto Co.
I do not know what percentage whistleblower law firms receive from their clients' awards, but I going to guess that it will easily pay for Meissner's 2010 movie preview ad -- and then some!