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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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