J. Robert Surface grew up in Charleston County, South Carolina, in a devout, hard-working Christian family. His father retired from the US Navy as a Chief and raised his sons and daughters in a strict environment while he studied pre-Pharmacy at the College of Charleston from 1959 to 1963. Robert’s upbringing was tough but loving, and it instilled in him a strong work ethic. Robert graduated from St. John’s School in 1966, Rivers High School in 1969, from the College of Charleston as valedictorian in 1973, and from the University of South Carolina Law School in 1978. He also did graduate work at Clemson University.
After a brief time as an Assistant City Attorney for the newly formed City of North Charleston, where he prosecuted criminal cases and provided legal opinions on annexation questions, Robert joined the federal government as an attorney with the branch of Social Security dealing with disability hearing and appeals, called ODAR. Robert returned to the private sector in 2007 and launched a successful career representing clients with disabilities before the Social Security Administration. He is admitted to practice before the US District Court of South Carolina and is in good standing with the South Carolina Bar Association, and the Supreme Court.
In 2009 Robert was certified by the Department of Veterans to handle claims by veterans before the various VA Regional Offices – the one in South Carolina is located in Columbia –, the Board of Veterans Appeals, and the Court of Veterans Appeals. He is admitted to practice before the Veterans Court in Washington, DC.
Robert is active in the Upstate community. He lives in Due West, SC, and maintains two law offices, the main one in Greenville, SC, at 408 North Church Street, and the other at 513 East Greet Street, in Honea Path, SC. He attends historic Trinity Episcopal Church in Abbeville SC, is a Master Gardener, and spends his weekends on the farm with his border collies, Freckles, Ceilidh, Stock Broker, and Cooper. He enjoys sheep herding trials, landscape design, gardening, hiking, kayaking, writing, reading, and going to auctions.