search question-circle-o log-in megaphone arrow-right2 facebook twitter youtube linkedin2 phone plus-circle2 minus-circle2 play2 menu3 cross

Susan M. Sajadi

Tell us a few things about yourself (family, job, things that bring you joy).

I’m a trial attorney at a law firm in Washington, D.C. I represent plaintiffs in complex litigation (basically I fight for the little guy)! I am married to my husband of 11 years (who also went to UVA Law). We have 3 energetic kids. In addition to spending time with my family, I love traveling, reading and cooking. 

Is there something you learned at UVA that you apply to your life now?

I was fortunate to attend the Law School (in my opinion, the BEST in the country). What sets us apart is that students are not only smart and engaged, they are also multi-dimensional and seek a collegial environment. I made some of my best friends at UVA — and I didn’t want my time at UVA to end. The best lesson I learned is that things don’t need to be “either/or.” They can be “both/and.” I never believed that I had to be either a mother/wife or a lawyer. I saw so many brilliant examples of women who were both. 

What does the UVA alumnae community mean to you? How have fellow alumnae affected your life/career/journey?

UVA Law and its alumnae are the entire reason I am here today. I was mentored by two UVA alums at Sidley Austin LLP, who helped me tremendously in my career. When I moved back to Charlottesville, I was hired by the Law School and then subsequently introduced to and hired by attorneys, also UVA alums, via a UVA Law professor. My husband, siblings and my best friends are all UVA alums! 

In your opinion, what is the legacy of women on UVA?

I think the legacy of women at UVA is a complicated one. Anytime you exclude a section of the population from an educational opportunity, you create a chasm that takes a long time to fill. I think the University has taken significant steps to repair mistakes made, but we have a long way to go until all groups can feel like UVA is the welcoming place we strive to be. We can be great and good— and I applaud the University for striving to do that. 

If you could impart a piece of advice to a female student on Grounds today, what would you tell her?

Don’t think too much — get out and do it! As a student and as a young lawyer, I would often think about how I was going to balance everything. When I learned to accept that life is going to be chaotic and challenging, it made the days a lot easier. If you think too much about how you’re going to do it all, you won’t get out of bed in the morning. But once you start doing it, things fall into place. 

Is there anything related to women’s history at the University that you would like to learn more about?

I’d love to hear more about the experiences of some of the first women who entered UVA— why did they do it?  I can’t imagine it was easy. How did they rise above it?