skip navigation

Judge Lawrence B. Hagel

Judge Lawrence B. Hagel Judge Lawrence B. Hagel was appointed a Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims by President George W. Bush in December 2003.

Immediately before his appointment, Judge Hagel served as the General Counsel of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, a congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to advocating for veterans of the Armed Forces who have a disease or injury of the spinal cord.

Judge Hagel began his employment at the Paralyzed Veterans in January of 1990 as the Deputy General Counsel, a position in which he was responsible for developing the organization's policy and procedure for litigating cases at the then newly created Court of Veterans Appeals, later named the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He represented individual veterans at the Board of Veterans' Appeals, and both the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He also filed amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the Paralyzed Veterans, notably filing the amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. Gardner, 513 U.S. 115 (1994), on behalf of the Paralyzed Veterans; the Veterans of Foreign Wars; the American Veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam; the Blinded Veterans Association; and the Vietnam Veterans of America.

In 1999, Judge Hagel became the General Counsel of Paralyzed Veterans of America. During his tenure as General Counsel, he retained and supervised outside counsel and advised the organization, its officers, and directors in matters involving employment policy, employment discrimination, internal investigations and employee discipline, corporate governance, taxation, intellectual property, and litigation regarding enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Significant litigation in which Judge Hagel was involved on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America includes Paralyzed Veterans of America v. D.C. Arena L. P., 117 F.3d 579 (D.C. Cir. 1997), the first case in the country requiring stadium owners to provide persons with mobility impairments accessible seating with views comparable to those provided to the general public.

During his legal career, Judge Hagel has been extensively involved in legal issues relating to veterans benefits. He has served as a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Rules Advisory Committee (1992-2003), and of the Federal Bar Association, Veterans Law Committee Section, of which he was the Chair from 1994-1995. He created the framework for and was a founding member of the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program and served on its Executive Board from its creation in 1992 until his appointment to the Court. Judge Hagel has spoken extensively on the subject of pro bono service to veterans and the operation of the Court at various law schools. He has lectured at Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law and was a Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Stetson College of Law in 2008, where he co-taught a course on the law of veterans benefits. Judge Hagel was also a member of the Administrative Conference of the United States and the Steering Committee, District of Columbia Bar, Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section.

Judge Hagel's military experience includes graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy and service in the U.S. Marine Corps as an infantry platoon commander, a headquarters company commander, and a field advisor to a battalion of the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam during an extended tour in Viet Nam. Among others, Judge Hagel was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon, the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal.

After returning from Viet Nam, Judge Hagel attended law school at the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law. Upon graduation, he remained in the Marine Corps, serving as a Judge Advocate. He later received a masters of law (labor law) with highest honors from the National Law Center of The George Washington University. During his time as a Judge Advocate, he represented individuals charged with crimes under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and before administrative and medical boards. He was also appointed Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. Judge Hagel appeared on behalf of the Department of the Navy in U.S. District Courts throughout the country, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Ninth Circuits, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and in labor arbitration. Cases of note include Shopco Distribution Co., Inc. v. Commanding General of Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, N.C., 885 F.2d 167 (4th Cir. 1989).

Judge Hagel is admitted to practice before the highest courts of Iowa, California, and the District of Columbia. He is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits; the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims; and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

Judge Hagel was born in Washington, Indiana.

Back