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In a profile piece published in The New York Times, Whistleblower Practice Chair Jordan A. Thomas talks about his decision to travel “the road not taken,” and how it has benefited those in difficult professional positions.
After dealing with a traumatic upbringing and seeking emancipation from his parents at the age of 15, Thomas went to law school and then entered the United States Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps. In 1999, he joined the Justice Department. There, he described himself as “a poor boy trying to fit in with all the Ivy League guys.” Later, as a former Assistant Director in the SEC’s Enforcement Division, Thomas became a “principal architect” of the SEC Whistleblower Program and all too familiar with the power large corporations wield over their employees.
On Monday the SEC announced that it will reward its largest awards to-date, $83 million, to a group of whistleblowers. Represented by Thomas, the group’s actions resulted in Merrill Lynch paying $415 million to settle charges. That is a ways away from his tumultuous childhood and humble beginnings.
To date, Thomas’ clients have filed 57 whistleblower submissions, three have generated rewards, and another 10 are either pending or in process. Instead of taking a lucrative position in which he could defend corporations from the government investigations he once led, Thomas decided to build his own practice from scratch, and it’s safe to say his “bet is paying off.”