Patricia E. Roberts, Esq.
Director, The Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic
Clinical Professor of Law and Director, Clinical Programs
Professor Roberts directs William & Mary Law School's Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic, a clinic she helped to create and supported since its inception in 2008. She is the previous director of the Special Education Advocacy Clinic and founder of William & Mary's Institute of Special Education Advocacy. As Director of Clinical Programs, she is responsible for managing nine clinics at the law school, five of which are in-house clinics started under her leadership. She is an appointed member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Clinical Legal Education Committee and Chair of the AALS Clinical Section Interdisciplinary Committee. Professor Roberts is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, Randolph-Macon Woman's College and William & Mary Law School; she practiced law for eight years as a sole practitioner and later as managing partner of a civil practice law firm. Professor Roberts is a former member of the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, former member and president of the board of Legal Services of Eastern Virginia, and also served as president of the Greater Peninsula Women's Bar Association. In 1997, she began teaching in William & Mary's Legal Skills Program; prior to her appointment to the faculty in 2008, she served in numerous administrative roles at the law school including Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Director of the Legal Skills Program, and Director of the Academic Support, Externship, and Madrid Summer Study Programs. In 2004, she received the John Marshall Award in recognition of exceptional service to the law school.
Visiting Professor of Practice and Staff Attorney
Professor Szymanski serves as a Visiting Professor of Practice and the Staff Attorney of the William & Mary Law School's Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic. She is a former appellate attorney with the Bethesda, MD based firm of Bergmann & Moore. She previously served as a law clerk for Judge Robert N. Davis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and as a Judge Advocate with the U.S. Marine Corps. She is currently a Civil Affairs Officer for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves.
Professor Szymanski's experience in veterans law is extensive, having not only served in the military fo several years, but also having worked on veterans benefits claims, both from the perspective of the judiciary as well as from the viewpoint of a litigation attorney. During her tenure with Bergman & Moore, she represented clients with appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Her representation resulted in a high success rate for her clients. As a Judge Advocate with the U.S. Marine Corps. she traveled extensively providing legal training and support to Marine Corps units and commanders. Professor Szymanski, also having served as both a platoon and company commander, advised commanders on various legal matters including civil, administrative, and criminal law. Additionally, she advised senior officials on complex legal issues to ensure compliance with the laws of the United States, Executive Orders, international treaties, and other applicable federal regulations. She is also a former adjunct professor with the University of the District of Columbia's David A. Clarke School of Law.
Professor Szymanski is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Baccalaureate '99) and the University of San Francisco School of Law (JD '02). She serves as the President of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association, as well as provides pro bono legal assistance to incarcerated veterans. She credits her involvement in and passion for veterans law to her father, a former Marine who served during the Vietnam War and suffered his own battles while attempting to obtain benefits from the VA.