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Public Company: Caryn Fine

caryn-fineDirector and Assistant General Counsel

Ameren Corporation

Caryn Fine did not always intend to become an attorney. As she looked ahead to establishing a career, her interests included psychology and teaching as well as law.

“And what I ended up selecting was a good merger of all of those interests,” she said.

Fine says that in her field as a generalist, she often finds herself counseling on legal issues, as well as human interactions and instructing people on how the law applies to their business dealings.

A St. Louis native, she graduated from Tulane University with a bachelor of science in psychology. She also spent a year studying political science at Sorbonne University in Paris.

After returning to the United States, she enrolled at Washington University School of Law, where she was president of the Student Bar Association and participated in moot court, winning the Golden Gavel Award in 1998.

“In law school, I found I really enjoyed formal presentation and litigation,” Fine said.

She also gravitated towards labor and employment law. After graduating in 1989, she took a position as a field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board.

Fine said she found herself “pretty immediately thrown in” to litigating cases for the NLRB. In addition to handling cases in administrative and federal court, she investigated unfair labor practices and conducted hearings relating to issues before the agency.

Fine drew on her experiences at the NLRB when she joined Anheuser-Busch in 1994, where she advised primarily on labor and employment matters. She later worked for a private firm that specialized in labor and employment law, but before long, she accepted a position as associate general counsel at Ameren Corporation.

“The best practice is in-house practice,” she said.

At Ameren, Fine continues to focus on labor and employment issues, drawing on her strong background in that area. She oversees employment litigation and provides strategic advice regarding labor negotiations. That work includes more than 30 contracts involving more than 6,000 employees.

As an attorney who works on employment matters, Fine also is involved in what she describes as industry-leading diversity initiatives at Ameren. She has served as the legal department diversity chair, the liaison to the diversity counsel and a co-chair of a sub-group for Ameren’s Diversity & Inclusion Festival.

In-house work can be demanding, Fine said. As at any firm, her work involves deadlines to hit, goals to meet, clients and bosses to accommodate. But it also provides her with the opportunity and ability to work with internal leadership to find proactive solutions, which Fine said is extremely rewarding.

“It is nice to have so much knowledge of a company’s mission, values, and goals,” she said.

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