Cleveland Lawrence III is a Partner at Mehri & Skalet, and is Co-Chair of the firm’s Whistleblower Rights practice group – which focuses on representing individual and corporate whistleblowers at all stages of litigation under federal and state False Claims Act laws, the IRS, SEC, and CFTC whistleblower programs, the Motor Vehicle Safety Whistleblower Act, and a variety of anti-retaliation laws and regulations. Cleveland has been a thought leader on whistleblower, fraud, and compliance issues for more than a decade. From 2008 to 2016, he led the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund (TAFEF) and its sister organization, Taxpayers Against Fraud, and regularly met with whistleblowers, federal and state government officials, private attorneys, and the public to combat fraud against federal and state funds. He also served as editor-in-chief of TAFEF’s law journal, the “False Claims Act & Qui Tam Quarterly Review.” After leaving TAFEF, Cleveland returned to private practice, and joined Mehri & Skalet in 2018. In 2020, he re-joined TAFEF’s leadership; he currently serves on its President’s Council, and Chairs its Diversity & Inclusion Standing Committee.
Throughout his distinguished career, Cleveland has worked with the highest levels of all three branches of Government to shape whistleblower law and policy. In addition to arguing before federal district and circuit courts on behalf of his own whistleblower clients, he has authored and filed numerous amicus curiae briefs in federal and state courts across the country – including the U.S. Supreme Court. Cleveland has also and partnered with high-ranking officials from the U.S. Department of Justice to coordinate the nation’s largest annual False Claims Act conference – which often featured Directors of the IRS, SEC, and CFTC whistleblower programs. Moreover, he has testified before Congress and state legislatures regarding FCA and whistleblower-related legislation; represented a testifying witness during Congressional committee hearings; prepared draft federal and state legislation; and submitted multiple comment letters to federal agencies implementing Dodd-Frank and other whistleblower reward programs. Cleveland also has experience serving as outside defense counsel, having handled a variety of fraud, compliance, ethics, and whistleblower issues during his six-year stint in “BigLaw”.
Cleveland has examined whistleblowing from multiple perspectives and frequently speaks about the topic to a variety of audiences, including: conferences, seminars, and other educational events for whistleblowers and attorneys sponsored by the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association, TAFEF, and others; law students, graduate students, compliance officers, and other groups; and media outlets such as Law360, POLITICO, the Corporate Crime Reporter, The CPA Journal, and the Whistleblower Revolution podcast.
Cleveland received a B.A. from Georgetown University and he graduated, with honors, from The George Washington University Law School, where he was a member of the Public Contracts Law Journal. A native of New Orleans, he is a founder and president of the Lagniappe Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides scholarship assistance to deserving college-bound graduates from his alma mater, Edna Karr High School.
Cleveland Lawrence III testifies before Congress about the importance of whistleblower protections in the auto industry, at 17:38, with Q&A at 42:50.