Szymanski Named Visiting Professor of Practice and Staff Attorney of Puller Veterans Benefits Clinic

  • Extensive Experience in Veterans Law
    Extensive Experience in Veterans Law  Aniela Szymanski serves as a visiting professor of practice and the staff attorney of the Law School's Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic.  Photo by David F. Morrill
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A veteran whose family's military service and history reach back from current conflicts to the days of the Prussian Army

William & Mary Law School announces the appointment of Aniela K. Szymanski as a visiting professor of practice and staff attorney of the Lewis B. Puller, Jr., Veterans Benefits Clinic.  Szymanski 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. Marines Corps Reserves and recently served as an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia's David A. Clarke School of Law.

Szymanski's experience in veterans' law is extensive. She provided legal counsel in the military for several years, and also worked on veterans' benefits claims from the perspectives of both the bench and bar.  During Szymanski's tenure with Bergmann & Moore, she successfully represented clients before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  As a judge advocate with the U.S. Marines Corps, Szymanski provided legal training and support to Marine Corps units and subordinate commanders around the globe.  She also served as a platoon and company commander, advising commanders on various civil, administrative, and criminal law matters.  Additionally, Szymanski advised senior officials on complex legal issues to ensure compliance with the laws of the United States, Executive Orders, and other applicable federal regulations.

The Honorable Robert N. Davis, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, said that his former clerk is "not only a gifted lawyer but she is truly dedicated to providing the best service possible for veterans. Her unique background as a Marine Corps Officer and her excellent interpersonal skills and superior legal and analytical ability make her uniquely qualified to continue the important work of the Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic at William & Mary." Dean Davison M. Douglas added his enthusiasm for Szymanski's addition to the Puller Clinic team,  saying that her "background, experience, and dedication to veterans make her an ideal teacher and mentor for our students."

The Puller Clinic offers students the opportunity to assist veterans with filing claims for disability compensation with the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as work with Physical and Medical Evaluation Boards and the Board of Corrections for Military Records. Under attorney supervision, clinic students have the opportunity to interview clients, analyze medical records and communicate with health care providers, compile evidence and draft briefs, and craft strategies to help clients receive the disability compensation they earned in service to our country.

Szymanski is a graduate of the University of Nevada Las Vegas (Baccalaureate '99) and the University of San Francisco School of Law (J.D. '02).  She is the president of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association and spends some of her free time providing pro bono legal assistance to incarcerated veterans.

She joins the Puller Clinic in the new position of staff attorney to assist with the increasing demand for the Clinic's legal services. This new position was made possible through the generosity of the Virginia Law Foundation and the William & Mary Law School Class of 1984. Szymanski works alongside the Puller Clinic's director, Patricia E. Roberts (J.D. '92), and attorneys John Paul Cimino (J.D. '12) and Eric Hughes, in training tomorrow's attorneys through pro bono representation of veterans. Roberts said, "The Puller Clinic is fortunate that Professor Szymanski brings with her a wealth of military and veterans law experience. She is already demonstrating her excellence as an advocate and her gift for teaching, and her arrival enabled expanded student enrollment and increased veteran representation in the Puller Clinic."

About William & Mary Law School

Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.