Sunday Read: Getting to Know Whistleblower Attorneys: Will Kramer

National Whistleblower Center
7 min readJun 10, 2024


National Whistleblower Center (NWC) launched the “Getting to Know Whistleblower Attorneys” feature to explore the qualities and motivations of some of the field’s leading practitioners.

One such attorney is Will Kramer, who was an occupational health and safety consultant when he documented deeply disturbing conditions and improper handling of hazardous waste at several plants in Wisconsin. The plants are supposed to recondition industrial plastic containers and steel drums and are owned by a publicly traded multinational corporation, Greif Inc.

Workers inside the plants suffered injuries and residents around some of the plants reported unusual sicknesses; even the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees who went to investigate one of the plants became ill. Kramer reported potential health, safety, environmental and securities violations to government regulators, members of Congress and the news media after the plants failed to address these issues. He also reported these concerns to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), alleging that the company has not disclosed the regulatory and environmental risks associated with operating these plants to its investors.

These experiences, in part, inspired Kramer to pass the bar. He is now an associate in the Litigation Practice Group of Pines Bach in Wisconsin. There, he advises clients and litigates in areas including whistleblower law, labor and employment law, environmental law, and health law, and offers services related to regulatory compliance and crisis management.

In this Sunday Read, NWC chronicles what inspired Kramer to make the leap and how he continues to fight the good fight.

An Interview with Will Kramer

What are the internal discussions anyone on the fence should have?

To a whistleblower, the situation they seek to expose is personal and ever-present. They go to work every day knowing that whatever it is will continue to happen unless they do something. They have access to information others don’t, and if they get that information to the right people, they can make a real difference in the world. When you’re in that mindset, it’s easy to see the risks to yourself as inconsequential when compared to the greater good.

But for the spouse or partner of a potential whistleblower, everything the whistleblower is going through is more abstract while the risks to the family are very real and of immediate concern. What if the whistleblower loses their job, or worse, becomes essentially blacklisted in their industry? What if they become involved in protracted litigation? What are the potential consequences to the family’s finances, mental health, and social standing?

The opposing pressures from these differing perspectives can certainly lead to conflict, but they can also prompt better decision-making for both the whistleblower and the family as a whole. An open and honest conversation between a whistleblower and their family can lead to a more realistic understanding of the risks involved and a shared commitment to mitigating them, along with a better understanding of the values driving the whistleblower’s actions. And hopefully, someone in those discussions will realize how important it is to speak with a whistleblower attorney before doing anything.

Is it safe to assume that your own whistleblowing experience is useful in your practice?

I vividly remember the moment I decided to blow up my entire career and risk everything I had. The choking taste and smell of the chemicals in the air. The sounds of liquid hazardous waste where there should have been none, sloshing; pouring; dripping. The lack of concern in workers’ eyes above the dust masks that obscured the rest of their faces and did absolutely nothing to protect them from what they were doing. The shock, then horror, then rage as I understood what was happening and what it meant.

My experience as a whistleblower informs every aspect of how I approach whistleblower law. It’s why I became a lawyer. It helps me better understand clients and their goals, fuels my passion for the fight, and allows me to be a source of support and counsel that goes beyond the traditional attorney-client relationship.

How does your risk management experience provide an edge when practicing law?

My prior career as a risk management consultant exposed me to the internal operations of companies around the U.S. in industries ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to construction and everything in between. A large part of my job involved identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities within an organization — whether it was financial risks, legal liabilities, reputational hazards, or operational weaknesses. Having that risk management background allows me to spot patterns and red flags that others might miss, as well as a sense of where to look for key information, which is crucial when developing a discovery strategy in litigation. More broadly, that firsthand experience in such a wide variety of workplaces gives me a lot of insight into the “real world” that exists underneath the policies and procedures of any organization, and that is something many attorneys lack.

At the same time, that career also exposed me to the rot that pervades so much of the business world. I witnessed firsthand how casually some companies break the law and put people at risk, including their own employees. In many cases, you’d be surprised how little effort they put into covering up their wrongdoing. They assume — correctly for the most part — that their employees will just go along with it because they can’t afford to rock the boat. That experience was disillusioning, but also formative. When sometime horrible happens, I have come to believe that if you ask the right questions of the right people, you will always find out that somewhere along the way, someone made a specific decision knowing that it would break the law and/or hurt people. It’s never inadvertent.

There has been a rise in litigation of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) or “Forever Chemicals” in water supplies and consumer products, leading to high-profile litigation and major settlements. Some believe the offending entities are not facing appropriate consequences. Where do you see this risk headed?

PFAS contamination is a prime example of the kind of systemic corporate misconduct that demands aggressive legal action and accountability. Many of the companies involved in the manufacture and use of PFAS have known of their dangers for decades. Internal documents and whistleblower reports show that some of these corporations actively suppressed research on the health risks of PFAS while continuing to profit from their sale and distribution.

While settlements in the billion-dollar range and cleanup agreements are significant, we need more than just monetary penalties — there needs to be fundamental reforms to the way these companies operate and the way our regulatory system oversees the use of harmful chemicals. We need to be making examples of the worst offenders to send a clear message that this kind of reckless endangerment of public health will not be tolerated.

As more research emerges on the health and environmental impacts of these chemicals, and as more communities discover the extent of the contamination they’re facing, the pressure for accountability will only grow. Whistleblowers will play a critical role in fueling this movement by helping to expose exactly what the companies knew, when they knew it, and why they decided to keep poisoning communities anyway.

— — —

NWC thanks Will Kramer for his honest insight and perspective. Learn more about him here or read more on his whistleblower career in a future edition of Sunday Read. Make sure to join NWC’s mailing list, subscribe to the newsletter on LinkedIn, and follow us on Medium to ensure you get notifications for Part 2!

Get to know other whistleblower attorneys, such as:

The “Getting To Know Whistleblower Attorneys” series will continue this summer.

Networking Opportunities for Whistleblowers, Lawyers and Experts

On June 10th, NWC is hosting a Bar Trivia fundraiser to celebrate Pride Month!

The fun begins at 6 PM EST at Sudhouse DC (1340 U Street, NW). Broaden your network and put your knowledge to work. Everyone will enjoy happy hour-priced food and drink, invaluable networking opportunities and the winners will go home with gift cards, books, and other fun prizes. Get your tickets on Eventbrite today.

National Whistleblower Day

On the topic of networking, NWC will celebrate National Whistleblower Day on July 30 with a luncheon on Capitol Hill that promises to be a powerful celebration of the courageous individuals who stand up for truth and accountability, combatting corruption and protecting the cornerstones of our democracy. Hear inspiring accounts firsthand as whistleblowers share their stories, insights from government agency whistleblower offices, and keynote addresses from Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Wyden, leading whistleblower rights advocates in Congress. National Whistleblower Day is the ideal forum to connect with fellow whistleblower advocates. Mark your calendar for July 30th and continue to check for more announcements.

Resources For Whistleblowers

The decision to come forward is not one to be taken lightly, nor should selecting a whistleblower lawyer. NWC provides resources that can connect you with the right legal professional.

You can also learn more about the type of whistleblower lawyer needed for your claim in Rules for Whistleblowers: A Handbook for Doing What’s Right, written by NWC Founder and Chairman of the Board Stephen M. Kohn.

Support NWC

NWC fights to bolster whistleblower programs, inform the public and employees in all sectors about available laws and protections, and help connect whistleblowers with the right legal representation. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit our awareness building work is made possible with the support of our generous donors. Please consider donating $100 today to help us continue to educate the public on how to find help when it is time for them to blow the whistle, and donors who donate $100 or more will receive a copy of Rules for Whistleblowers.

This story was written by Justin Smulison, a professional writer, podcaster, and event host based in New York.



National Whistleblower Center

National Whistleblower Center is the leading nonprofit working with whistleblowers around the world to fight corruption and protect people and the environment.