Vincent “Vince” McKnight, Jr., is the Managing Partner of Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP’s Washington, DC office, a national law firm with offices in Washington DC, New York, California, and Tennessee. He received his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1978.
Mr. McKnight is Co-Chair with Ross Brooks of Sanford Heisler Sharp’s whistleblower practice. In that capacity, he represents whistleblowers in numerous sealed and unsealed False Claims Act/qui tam suits under investigation by the United States and other governmental stakeholders. Mr. McKnight has achieved significant success in cases brought under the federal False Claims Act, including the representation of whistleblowers in a series of actions alleging that office products companies were illegally selling products from non-compliant countries such as China to the U.S. government in violation of the Trade Agreements Act and General Services Administration (GSA) policies. In 2009, Vince was co-lead counsel for a whistleblower who was the Government Contracting Director for Network Appliance (NetApp) in a matter which resulted in the then-largest GSA procurement fraud settlement in history. Vince also served as co-counsel in United States ex rel Cox v. Smith & Nephew, alleging unlawful sales of medical devices under government contracts arising from the manufacturer’s violations of the Trade Agreements Act.
Mr. McKnight’s experience extends to professional panel presentations on the False Claims Act at Taxpayers Against Fraud Conferences and American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) conventions. He also served as faculty at the ABA’s 6th Annual National Institute on the False Claims Act and Qui Tam Enforcement in 2006. He is the co-founder of the Qui Tam Litigation sub-group for ATLA. Mr. McKnight co-authored “Causes of Action by Employee for Retaliation and Reprisal Pursuant to the False Claims Act, 31 USC Section 3730 (h)” in Causes of Action 2d 217, Section 2 (West 2003). He also authored “Biomechanics of VDT Carpal Tunnel Cases,” Trial (June 1991).
Mr. McKnight is renowned for arguing and winning a case in which the DC Court of Appeals first departed from the employment-at-will doctrine—the assumption that employment is for an indefinite amount of time and may be terminated at any time—in the District of Columbia.
Mr. McKnight was twice honored by Law Dragon as one of “500 Rising Stars” and as one of the “Leading Plaintiff’s Lawyers in America.” He has consistently received a rating of “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell and was selected as one of the organization’s “Best Lawyers in America.” In 2014, Vince was selected by the Legal Network as a “Top Lawyer in Maryland.” He has previously been named among the Best Lawyers in America and recognized as a “top DC attorney” in Super Lawyers.
Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Mr. McKnight co-founded in 2009 and was a principal at McKnight & Kennedy, LLC, one of the premier plaintiff’s litigation firms in the Washington, DC area. Prior to founding McKnight & Kennedy, Vince was a Senior Partner at Ashcraft & Gerel LLP. From 1980 through 1982, Mr. McKnight was an associate in the Labor Practice Group of Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay.
Before joining Reed Smith, Mr. McKnight clerked for the Honorable William C. Pryor in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. During his clerkship, Judge Pryor was elevated to the DC Court of Appeals and Mr. McKnight served as Judge Pryor’s law clerk in the appellate court.