Janet Hager Alumni Spotlight


Janet Hager graduated with a minor in Comparative Literature in 2005. She now practices civil litigation at a small law firm in Rockville, Maryland. Her comparative literature training honed her critical reading and writing skills, which she uses daily in her work as a lawyer. As a lawyer, she has to write daily, and minoring in comparative literature allowed her to feel comfortable and confident in her writing.


Janet recalls being drawn to UNC because it was a great, affordable public university in the southeast. She fondly remembers her mentors Dr. Inger Brodey in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and Dr. Matthew Redinbo in the Department of Chemistry. One of her favorite memories of UNC was discussing some of the greatest novels of all time in her Great Books course. During her time as a student, Janet served on the Carolina Union Activities Board and worked for the radio station, which gave her the chance to meet new people, build friendships, and serve the campus community. If she could repeat her college experience, Janet would have taken more advanced language classes, practiced speaking that language with a native speaker, and then studied abroad to immerse herself in the language.


As a lawyer, Janet has had the opportunity to represent indigent clients in the community, which she takes pride in. When transitioning into her career as a lawyer, she asked a variety of people for advice and weighed that advice carefully before pursuing her career. She then earned her J.D. from American University. For students interested in a career path similar to Janet’s, she suggests that students intern at a law firm before committing to law school. She stresses that while many people think a law degree can be used in a variety of professions, like working a nonprofit, the majority of lawyers end up working for a law firm or in a government setting. Students should understand how this reality may relate to their dream job in the field. Her final piece of advice for UNC students is to choose something you love and pursue it wholeheartedly. She reminds students, “while you’re young, you might as well shoot for the stars.”


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