Jennifer A. Haynes
Vice President, Legal Division
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
Stephen Decatur High School
Washington University in St. Louis, BS, Political Science
Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, JD.
The Missouri Bar
Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
Mound City Bar Association
In short, what do you do?
I am a legal advisor for various business areas and company-wide initiatives at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. My duties include consulting with human resources on employee-related issues, supporting efforts in furtherance of the diversity and inclusion office, advising our Treasury and Banking Supervision business areas, and providing legal training to our law enforcement officers. I also serve as Assistant Ethics Officer and as Assistant Corporate Secretary to the Bank’s Board of Directors. Working at the Bank is such a unique and rewarding experience; my days are never the same.
What advice would you give to an aspiring female African-American college student, who is uncertain about entering law school?
With any decision about your education, there’s no need to rush. Make sure that you are going to law school for the right reasons. It’s really important to have a passion for the law and the legal system. A common stereotype associated with having a law degree is that once you graduate from school, you’ll immediately begin making “a lot of money.” That’s not necessarily true and you have to balance potential earnings with repayment of student loans, if you have any. If you decide to go to law school, be open minded about potential career paths—there are so many options for lawyers other than the traditional law firm environment. Finally, I often tell new lawyers: try not to be intimated by your peers in the profession. While strides have been made to increase diversity within the profession, there is much room for improvement. I’ve been called “kid” or “girl” more times than I can count. Sit in a courtroom to observe your peers and you’ll realize that you are as, if not more, knowledgeable and qualified as they are.
You’re dedicated to serving several organizations in the community. Which is closest to your heart, and why?
It’s a tie between the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis and Girls, Incorporated. Both organizations reinforce the values my parents instilled in me: to be proud of who I am and value education. Girls, Inc. emphasizes the importance of self-worth at a young age, and the girls are exposed to STEM programming, the arts, economic literacy and so many other subjects that are important to raising strong, smart and bold girls. The Scholarship Foundation is a valuable resource to area students. In this environment of rising college tuition and increasing family contributions, the opportunity to have access to interest-free loans and grant awards is so crucial to students who might not otherwise have access to post-secondary education. Over 50% of loan and grant recipients are students of color; over 60% are female.