A former rodeo clown and bullfighter from Montana—a job that no doubt teaches you to make quick, instinctive decisions—Karl Rutledge has utilized those traits to adapt as a gaming attorney, where the legal landscape is constantly changing and clients require immediate, well-reasoned analysis of their business ideas and gaming models to help them avoid legal danger.
As a partner in the Gaming practice group in Lewis Roca Rothgerber’s Las Vegas office, Rutledge focuses on internet gaming, contests, sweepstakes, privacy policies, and website terms and conditions.
Rutledge first changed career paths from water law to gaming law after meeting and getting to know Tony Cabot through his gaming course at the Boyd School of Law. “I was immediately enamored with the gaming field,” he recalls.
While Rutledge credits his solid law foundation to the Boyd School of Law, he credits the gaming partners at his firm for his development. “Practicing gaming law is definitely learned as you go,” comments Rutledge. “I’m fortunate to work with and learn from several of the leaders in the gaming profession, including Tony Cabot, the foremost expert in internet gaming. Working with widely respected gaming attorneys at Lewis Roca Rothgerber has certainly opened doors for me that would not have otherwise been available, and I am truly thankful for that.”
Just as those partners helped allow Rutledge to realize his dreams, he is just as committed to helping other young professionals reach theirs. In a nutshell, Rutledge’s philosophy in helping others achieve success is “continuous interaction and a true open-door policy.
“Having a legacy as a great attorney would be nice, but looking back on your career and having a group of attorneys you helped shape and develop seems far more rewarding.”
An active writer on gaming topics, Rutledge has authored or co-authored at least 37 articles since 2008, and has taken advantage of several speaking engagement opportunities including moderating, speaking and serving on several trade-event panels.
“The opportunity to be active early on proved very rewarding, and gave me not only the sense of ownership in my future but also that of the practice group and firm,” he says. “At Lewis Roca Rothgerber, responsibility and an active leadership role are there for the taking. The firm allows young attorneys to seek as much involvement in the firm as they would like. The gaming practice group allowed me to take on a tremendous amount of responsibility from early on in my tenure with the firm—for example, assisting with strategic planning, heading up the group’s publishing opportunities, speaking at conferences, traveling around the country and world to meet with existing and prospective clients.
“My advice to young professionals is to focus on a practice area you genuinely enjoy. If you find something that you truly enjoy, you won’t mind the long hours and stressful days that are required to be successful.”