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


Kasch 8 months 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 11 months 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 1 year 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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