LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2018: Adam J. Kline

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Adam Kline’s childhood on the family farm in Blackford County informs his practice in Bose’s agribusiness, estate and wealth transfer and real estate groups. He serves ag clients in 61 of Indiana’s 92 counties. As a Purdue undergrad, he helped develop the Krach Leadership Center, and he’s currently involved with efforts to bring young talent to Indianapolis.

lil-kline-2018What lessons did you learn growing up on a farm that apply to your practice?

I’m biased, but I genuinely believe being raised on a farm was my “big break.” There are few other environments where such a foundational belief is instilled in a kid to strive to leave something better than you found it. The concept is obvious to a farmer, who understands that generations before and after him will grow crops on his soil. But the same principle applies when approaching any project — in law or in life. Additionally, the crop or the animals that you raise represents your family’s livelihood. To that end, it is understood that you persevere for others until the job is done. But the farm also instills self-reliance, because sometimes the solution isn’t easy. For example, if an implement breaks down or an animal wanders free, it is up to your resourcefulness to find an answer. Those environmental traits have been invaluable in my practice of law.

What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not in the office?

My wife and I love to travel. We’ve found that seeing the world gives us better perspective in our careers.

When did you first decide you would become a lawyer, and what motivated you?

Coming off a farm, entering the practice of law didn’t even cross my mind until I had the opportunity to intern for Sen. Richard Lugar early in my college career. During that experience, I observed how Sen. Lugar masterfully utilized law and policy as a mechanism to improve citizens’ lives. Parlaying the newfound interest in the law with my background in agriculture, I subsequently volunteered to work as an agricultural liaison for Gov. (Mitch) Daniels’ 2008 gubernatorial campaign. Those opportunities snowballed into involvement with organizations at Purdue that opened the door to taking the LSAT and eventual enrollment in law school.

Who is someone who inspired or mentored you, and what did you learn from them?

I’ve been the benefactor of several quality mentors in my life. But two really stick out. I’ve got a tremendous mentor at Bose — Gary Chapman — who has taken deliberate effort to help me grow as a practitioner and person. The second is my dad, who taught me that, “It takes a lifetime to build a record of integrity, but you can lose it in a minute.” That foundational principle in life, as applied to the legal profession, serves as a constant guide in how I advise my clients and the clients with which I surround myself.

What’s been the most rewarding aspect of your practice?

Without question, the client base. I am passionate about Hoosier farmers and agribusiness and like to think my work will be part of what helps those farmers and businesses thrive.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

There is a wide spectrum of opportunity within the practice of agricultural law, and I hope to continue to grow as a leader in that field. Outside of work, I hope to continue being an active cheerleader for the state of Indiana. We live in a special place — and the story is continuing to get out.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I absolutely love our public greenways. As an avid runner, I frequently commute from my home near Broad Ripple to our offices downtown via the Monon Trail. It’s a straight shot and I’ve always found our city’s trails to be safe and clean.

What has been your most memorable case?

As a transactional attorney, my most memorable projects typically relate to family and small business succession plans. Throughout the process of planning, drafting and execution, it is incredibly gratifying to build a relationship with the client as I assist the owner in transferring a business (that is many times that individual’s life work) to a successor that they believe will continue the vitality of the company. 

How do you see the legal profession changing in the next decade?

It is my hope that the legal industry will strive to innovate at the pace of outside business. We have more ability to reference, research and communicate at our fingertips than any prior generation of practitioners. Use of this technology would seem to be the standard to be expected by our clients and colleagues in order to preserve the value we provide as professionals.

What was your most memorable job before becoming an attorney?

I spent the summer before law school installing subsurface drainage tile on farmland. It was tough, manual labor but rewarding to see the results at the end of the day.

If you hadn’t pursued a legal career, what would you be doing instead?

Good question. I’d like to think that if I weren’t in the legal profession, my fallback would be starting centerfielder for the Chicago Cubs. A guy can dream, right?•

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