From: United States: Florida
Fields: Law Key Words/Phrases: lawyer, Attorney General
Reno, Janet (1938- ), United States attorney general (1993- ), the first woman to hold the position. She was born in Miami, Florida, and educated at Cornell University and Harvard Law School. After graduating from Harvard in 1963 she practiced law in Miami with several firms. She became staff director of the Florida House Judiciary Committee in 1971, then assistant to the state's attorney in Miami in 1973. She returned to private practice for two years in 1976. In 1978 Reno was appointed Miami's state attorney, a post to which she was reelected five times. She developed a reputation as a staunch protector of defendant's rights and a tough enforcer of child-support laws. In 1993, when President Bill Clinton (1993- ) appointed Reno U.S. attorney general, she vowed to use her new position to defend abortion rights. Her early days in office were occupied with a standoff near Waco, Texas, between Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents and members of the Branch Davidian religious cult. The standoff ended after the FBI agents attempted to force the members of the cult out of the compound, which then burned, killing many cult members.