Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration: Who Is Paul R. Lawrence?

Monday, April 02, 2018
Paul R. Lawrence

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a permanent undersecretary for benefits for the first time since October 2015. Nominated by President Donald Trump on February 21, 2018, Paul R. Lawrence has been a government affairs consultant for about 30 years, most recently at Kaiser Associates since July 2016. The undersecretary for benefits runs the Veterans Benefits Administration, and as such oversees a variety of benefits and services to service members, veterans, and their families. Lawrence succeeds Allison Hickey, who served from June 2011 to October 2015.


Born circa 1956, Paul R. Lawrence earned his B.A. in Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1978, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics at Virginia Tech in 1982. Lawrence served in the U.S. Army from 1982 to 1986, graduating Army Airborne School and attaining the rank of captain.


Joining the private sector, Lawrence joined PricewaterhouseCoopers from January 1987 to September 2002, gaining partnership status in 1995. He focused on consulting with government executives regarding efficiency and best practices.


After leaving PricewaterhouseCoopers, Lawrence became something of a job-hopper, working as a vice president with IBM Business Consulting Services from October 2002 to December 2005, as a senior director with the MITRE Corporation from January 2006 to December 2007, and as

a vice president with Accenture from January 2008 to July 2009. In all these positions, Lawrence provided consulting services to government leaders and agencies.


Lawrence then spent seven years as a partner at Ernst & Young, from July 2009 to June 2016. There, he was in charge of the Ernst & Young “Initiative on Leadership.”


Lawrence is the co-author of a series of books based on interviews with members of the Obama administration. These include Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government (2011), What Government Does: How Political Executives Manage; and Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government (2014), based on interviews with 42 Obama administration deputy secretaries and agency heads, and Succeeding as a Political Executive: 50 Insights from Experience (2016), based on interviews with 64 executives who served in the Obama Administration. He is also the co-editor of Transforming Organizations and Learning the Ropes: Insights for Political Appointees (2005).


Lawrence serves on the board of advisors to the Economics Program at the University of Massachusetts and has served on the board of advisors of the Thomas Jefferson Public Policy Program at The College of William and Mary.


Paul R. Lawrence is married to Ann P. Lawrence, with whom he has children. 

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Official Bio

Trump Plans to Nominate Army Veteran Paul Lawrence as Undersecretary for VA Benefits (by Nikki Wentling, Stars and Stripes)

LinkedIn Profile

Personal Website

Articles by Paul R. Lawrence


DRED SCOTT 4 years ago
After learning of symptoms from BURN PIT exposure I identified what has kept me sick periodically with reoccurring symptoms since Vietnam. VA and regular doctors do not test for Toxic Exposure and will only recognize Iraq or Afgan Vets. I was stationed at Phan Rang and my unit was assigned to empty Out Houses and dump contents in Pits. I would stay sick, I saw doctors then and I see them now. The Best UCLA has to offer even a research doctor. My Gastro condition neutralizes all medications. I know I will be dead before my beloved US Government makes this illness presumptive. America has used Chemical Agents in every War/Foreign Conflict and always takes the position of PLAUSIBLE DENIAL when soldiers report illnesses. Just like America paid 10"s of $Millions for Dow Chemicals' Agent Orange and was well aware of its toxicity on soldiers, when claims were first made there were decades of PLAUSIBLE DENIAL. So now the new Agent Orange - Burn Pits gets its decades for PLAUSIBLE DENIAL. Soldiers took a OATH of allegiance to the country, why doesn't the Country honor its Oath to the Veteran - that says you don't have to prove our chemicals made you ill YOUR HONORABLE DISCHARGE is proof enough.
Michael 4 years ago
As a Vet, this all sounds good but we are not seeing results on the front lines. I have sent letters, emails and have yet to hear how you are changing things to help the Vets? For example: "I called VA to see if I could get a colonoscopy locally "rather than" having to prep and then driver 2.5 hours to the VA in Columbia! The answer was a flat out no! They sent the prep kit and said I was scheduled. I ended up scheduling it locally and had to pay for it myself. Why can we not get care locally instead of driving 2.5 hours to VA where they seem to care less?
Gary Way 4 years ago
As much as I appreciate that the Govt is recognizing the Blue Water Navy in its inclusion of agent orange, they do not recognize that fact that many Navy personnel had boots on the ground also. I and many of my shipmates made several trips off of our Carrier to DaNang to repair aircraft that could not land on the Carrier do to many circumstances. It was not uncommon for us to be in country for several days at a time. Transient personnel were also in country waiting to be flown from one destination to DaNang to wait to be flown to a Carrier for days or even weeks.
Joe R 4 years ago
This man is definately about business, just not veterans business. He may be a veteran, but he sides with politics, leaving his brothers and sisters to fall through the cracks. He has blocked calls and phone numbers, both from myself personally as well as an attorney. There is no accountability at the lower levels and when this is brought to his attention, he ignores it. What sort of veteran does this? Clearly one who no longer has to fight for his benefits.
Kasch 5 years ago
What do you expect. Not even in nam. I not worried that you will hurt me. You already did. Com get a 71 year old vet.
mark plummer 5 years ago
I thought this guy in this position should be an advocate for veterans. Boy was I mistaken! Read his testimony on house bill 299.
Bonaparte Karratti 5 years ago
I would to contact Mr. Lawrence about a matter that concerns Agent Orange settlement that was close from the other veterans that was not informed about the process of that claim. Thank you, Bonaparte Karratti

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