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Congratulations to our First Place Scholarship Winner, Ethan Wright

Posted  December 21, 2021

The Constantine Cannon whistleblower team is thrilled to spotlight the First Place Winner of the firm’s Second Annual Law School Whistleblower Essay Contest: Ethan Wright.

Ethan is a third-year student at the University of Alabama School of Law. While in law school, Ethan has worked at the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division, and at several private law firms. He has also participated in the school’s Civil Law Clinic, which provides free legal services to the community on a wide range of matters, from consumer and housing law to municipal court infractions and debt collection defense.

It was his experience working at a small firm practicing whistleblower law that inspired Ethan’s winning essay: “During that time, I learned plenty about the False Claims Act, the Stark Law, and the minutiae of Medicare billing and Department of Defense contracting. But what has stuck with me the most has been the simple wisdom and courage of the men and women willing to blow the whistle on fraudulent conduct.”

Ethan’s essay explores how these two traits—wisdom and courage—are defining characteristics of most whistleblowers. Wisdom, Ethan explains, is more than just intellectual firepower. It’s knowing what to do in the hardest of circumstances, or as Ethan puts it, “when to acquiesce and when to stand firm.”  Courage, too, is essential. It’s what drives a whistleblower to follow their wisdom, despite the unavoidable risks.

Ethan explains how he saw these traits time and again in whistleblowers from all walks of life:

Although the whistleblowers I have met have been a varied lot—Black, White, Male, Female, PhD, GED—all have displayed uncommon levels of both wisdom and courage. Wisdom to understand that, despite the often refined and systematic tactics of their employer, something wrong is going on. Courage to investigate, ask questions, and refuse to conform in spite of the relentless incentives to join the scheme and unceasing threats against speaking out. Wisdom and courage to reject compliance, to quietly collect information, to put their careers, reputations, and well-beings on the line if it means stopping what they know to be wrong.

We couldn’t agree more. Like Ethan, we’ve seen these qualities in all of the whistleblowers we have represented over the years.

You can read Ethan’s full essay here. We commend him for his thoughtful and beautifully written insights, and we join him in championing the whistleblowers who make society safer, fairer, and more just.

We congratulate Ethan, along with all of our other winners, and wish them the best in their legal careers. You can read all of the winning essays at the links below. Thanks again to all who took part in this year’s contest. And watch this space for when we launch our Third Annual Contest in 2022.


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