Janet was born
in Miami, Florida. She was the oldest of four children and had three
younger brothers. Janet's father had immigrated to the United States
from Denmark; he worked for 43 years as a police reporter for the
Miami Herald. Her mother became an investigative reporter for the
Miami News after she raised her children.
Janet was the debating
champion of Coral Gables High School in Dade County, Florida. She
continued her education at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York
where she majored in chemistry. In 1960 Janet enrolled at Harvard
Law School. She received her law degree three years later, but had
trouble finding a job as a lawyer because she was a woman.
was named the staff director of the Judiciary Committee of the Florida
House of Representatives. In 1973 Janet accepted a position with
the Dade County State's Attorney Office. Three years later she became
a partner in a law firm. After that she became the first woman to
serve as the State Attorney General for Dade County. She was the
State Attorney General for many years until she was nominated by
President Bill Clinton on February 11, 1993 to be the U.S. Attorney
General. Janet Reno was sworn in as the Nation's first woman Attorney
General by President Clinton on March 12, 1993.