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Lawyer lands winning in-house lottery job

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In-House Counsel

When Andrew Klinger decided to take a job as corporate counsel for a state agency, he was essentially playing the odds like someone buying a lottery ticket.

That was less than a year after being admitted to practice of law in Indiana, and it led to his eventually taking an in-house counsel position at the Hoosier Lottery, where he is now the top attorney.

“For someone who always thought I’d be a real estate attorney, how I got into gaming is still kind of a mystery to me,” said the 40-year old lawyer who’s been general counsel for the Hoosier Lottery since 2008, after four years working as a deputy general counsel at the Indiana Gaming Commission. “Some things are just lucky draws.”

Although Klinger had been interested for some time in pursing a legal career, he began working in economic development immediately after earning his undergraduate degree. The Fort Wayne native worked for several years in his hometown before moving to the Indiana Economic Development Commission and eventually deciding he was ready to start law school in 2001.
 

klinger Indianapolis attorney Andrew Klinger has served as general counsel for the Hoosier Lottery since 2008. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

“I was always interested in pre-law, but sat back and thought I didn’t want to go straight in and didn’t know what I’d go into with a law degree. So, I went into real estate and economic development work and got a practical sense of what I’d do as an attorney with a degree,” Klinger said.

He graduated from Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis in 2004, and worked briefly as a contract attorney with an employment law attorney in Carmel. But before he agreed to start as an associate there, a new opportunity came his way.

“In the spring 2005, the Gaming Commission called out of the blue. I just kind of fell into this,” he said. “I took the chance.”

After a few years there as a deputy general counsel, Klinger said he was ready for the next step and found that at the Hoosier Lottery. There, he became the general counsel. This position is different in that he had several staff attorneys to work with at the Gaming Commission, while he’s the only attorney at the Lottery. That prior position was more regulatory, dealing with private casinos and their licenses, while this is a semi-government agency tasked with maximizing revenues through sales of lottery tickets.

Most of his daily duties include contract review and dealing with vendors and licensing issues, all through the lens of a government agency that must respect open meetings and access laws.

A self-sufficient quasi-public agency that isn’t connected to the state budget, the Hoosier Lottery raises its own revenue and pays its expenses from that. Klinger said about $791 million came in last year, with major expenses paid out for prizes and commissions to retailers and a small percentage on administrative costs. The rest goes back to the state – most recently the Hoosier Lottery put about $190 million into the budget to pay for teacher and public safety pensions and reduce state excise tax. Klinger said the Hoosier Lottery is working on spreading the word about the fiscal value it brings to the state, motivating people to buy tickets.

Litigation is a minimal part of his job, though he does oversee that as general counsel. Most of the legal claims go through the administrative procedures first and typically end up before an administrative law judge, and Klinger said he handles those cases personally.

“In large part, I shield the marketing and sales folk from the political aspect so they can focus on the sales tasks,” he said.

When Klinger started the job, he said the Hoosier Lottery had a large litigation docket that he spent most of his time focusing on. Now, only one lawsuit remains outstanding for the agency – a class-action lawsuit in Marion Superior Court involving two plaintiffs who sued the state lottery for thousands of dollars after they lost playing the Cash Blast game in 2005 and 2006 and claimed the lottery misstated the number and amount of prizes available. The men claimed they were misled by advertising that made the odds of winning seem greater than they were, and last year the Indiana Court of Appeals determined that suit can move forward at trial.

Despite it being such a small aspect of his work as general counsel, Klinger said it’s the litigation and administrative court claims he finds the most interesting. But he also enjoys handling the issues that take him back to his pre-law days, such as real estate and economic development.

The Hoosier Lottery recently moved into a new headquarters on North Meridian Street in Indianapolis and Klinger is proud of his work negotiating and finalizing that 10-year lease.

“That was a game changer for us, and really kept things interesting and took me back to those early days,” he said. “Some people think that working with the lottery is all fun and games… and it’s not, it really is a lot of work.”

While Klinger isn’t allowed to play the Hoosier Lottery, he usually tries to buy a lottery ticket out of state whenever he travels. Although he hasn’t won a jackpot to date, he considers himself lucky to have won the chance to be working where he is.

“In a corporate environment, you’re right there in the middle of everything,” he said. “This is always interesting and different, with something new coming your way, a lot different than what I understand firm life to be like. I’m glad this ticket came my way.”•

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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

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  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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