Personal Quote: “The only way to truly advocate for your clients is to know and understand them and their issue. Being part of the same family, I can think of no better community of people I would rather represent more than current and former DoD members and their families.”
Background: Patrick J. Hughes (“Pat”) served as an active duty Judge Advocate (a/k/a JAG) for the United States Air Force (USAF) for over six years, separating in September 2017. After graduating from Commissioned Officer Training as a distinguished graduate, he followed a litigation track, beginning with prosecuting those accused of criminal violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) at Yokota Air Base, Japan. While at Yokota, in just his second year with the USAF, he was ranked by his Staff Judge Advocate as the top litigator and #1 of 8 Captains (O-3s) in the office.
He was then chosen in a “best qualified” selection process to become the Area Defense Counsel (ADC) at Pope Army Airfield, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While there, he travelled the eastern seaboard representing servicemembers in courts-martial, a Senior Officer Unfavorable Information File (SOUIF) and O-7 promotion board, non-judicial punishment/administrative paperwork (i.e., letters of counseling, admonishment, and reprimand), a flying evaluation board, demotion actions, denials of promotion/reenlistment, negative/referral performance reports, Article 138 complaints, applications to the Board of Corrections for Military Records (BCMR), and involuntary administrative discharge actions. His experience included representation in matters involving drug use, fraud, theft, negligent homicide, and sexual assaults and rape. Further, he represented over 400 servicemembers of virtually all ranks and career fields, from multiple O-6s in command, to pilots/air crew, maintainers, medics, and members of Joint Special Operations Command.
His courtroom successes led to him being ranked the #1 of 84 ADCs world-wide by the O-6 head of the Air Force Legal Operations Agency’s (AFLOA) Trial Defense Division.
His final active duty assignment was as a litigation attorney in the Military Personnel section of AFLOA’s General Litigation division at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. While there, he transitioned from criminal to civil practice, defending the DoD and USAF in lawsuits, including multiple class actions with millions of dollars at stake, brought in Federal courts across the United States. His cases included defending decisions rendered by the BCMR that were challenged in Federal court, back pay claims for alleged improper promotion/enlistment denials, denials of disability retirements, and denials of other financial incentives. He also supported the Labor Law Field Support Center in defending actions raised by DoD civilians in employment discrimination cases brought before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as challenges to adverse employment actions taken up before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). There, he was ranked by his O-6 Division Chief as the #1 of 7 Captains, and his supervisor ranked him the #1 Captain among all O-3s she had supervised in over 22 years.
In anticipation of meeting his promotion board, he was ranked among all those eligible for promotion from within AFLOA as the #1 of 53 by the AFLOA Commander. He ultimately promoted to Major.
He now looks forward to putting his litigation experience and legal acumen to use at Patriots Law Group, as he joins forces in private practice with his prior JAG co-worker, Michael Lyons.