Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Janet Reno (1993–2001): Attorney General

Janet Reno became the first female attorney general when she was nominated to that position by President Clinton. Reno served as attorney general throughout Clinton's eight years in office, from 1993 to 2001.

Reno was born in Miami, Florida, in 1938. She received her bachelor's degree in chemistry from Cornell University and her law degree from Harvard University. Reno first entered the political arena in 1971 when she was appointed staff director of the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House of Representatives; her major task was to reform the Florida judicial system. Reno left that position in 1973 when she accepted a job with the Dade County State Attorney.

Reno took a break from the state attorney's office when she decided to practice law privately with the firm of Steel, Hector & Davis (1976-1978). She soon returned to public office, being elected five times to the position of State Attorney for Dade County, Florida, and serving in that capacity from 1978 until her appointment by President Clinton in 1993.