Professor Patricia Roberts, a 1992 graduate of William & Mary Law School, was appointed the school’s Vice Dean on June 30.
Dean Davison M. Douglas said that he is delighted to have Roberts take on this new and additional role at the school. “Patty is a nationally known leader in clinical education,” he said. “In addition, the intelligence, commitment and zeal she brings to every endeavor at the Law School has earned her the esteem and affection of her colleagues and students. I look forward to her many contributions as Vice Dean.”
As Director of the Law School’s Clinical Programs, Roberts manages a center and nine legal clinics that provide pro bono representation to the community. During her tenure, she has led the creation of the school’s first in-house clinics, including those specializing in veterans’ benefits, elder law, special education, appellate and Supreme Court litigation, and coastal policy. A new business clinic is scheduled to start in spring 2018. She is Co-Director of the Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic, and has previously served as Director of the Puller Clinic and Director of the Special Education Advocacy Clinic.
Roberts has been a leader in the effort to rally law schools nationwide to join in the effort to aid veterans and is the inaugural President of the Board of Directors of the National Law School Veterans Clinic Consortium. She also is the creator of Military Mondays, a program that began at the Law School and now provides advice and counsel to veterans in select Starbucks’ locations across the country. Her recent scholarship on veterans has been published in the Hofstra Law Review and the South Carolina Law Review, and she regularly speaks on veterans’ law and access to justice topics, and provides assistance on setting up veterans’ clinics and Military Mondays nationwide.
Among her service on the national and state level, she was a Commissioner on the American Bar Association’s inaugural Veterans Legal Services Initiative. She also serves on the Pilot Task Team and National Coordinating Committee of the ABA’s Military & Veteran Legal Services Network and on the Virginia State Bar’s Access to Justice Pro Bono Coordinating Committee.
After graduating from Randolph-Macon Woman's College and earning her law degree at William & Mary, Roberts practiced law for eight years in Hampton Roads as a solo practitioner and later as a managing partner of a civil practice law firm. She began teaching in the Law School’s Legal Skills Program (now known as the Legal Practice Program) in 1997 and from 2000 to 2007 served in numerous administrative roles at the school, including Associate Director of the Legal Skills Program, Director of the Academic Support Program and Externship Program, and Associate Dean for Academic Programs. She was appointed to the clinical faculty in 2008 and was promoted to Clinical Professor of Law in 2014. The Law School honored her with the John Marshall Award in 2004 in recognition of her exceptional service.
Roberts was one of nine female attorneys profiled in August by Virginia Living Magazine in a feature story titled “Beyond the Letter of the Law.” She was inducted into the American Bar Foundation in 2017 and the Virginia Law Foundation’s 2016 Class of Fellows. She was also named to Virginia Lawyers Media’s list of “Influential Women of Virginia” in 2015.
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