“The only way to truly advocate for your clients is to know and understand them and their issue. Being a part of the same family, I can think of no better community of people I would rather represent than current and former DoD members and their families.” – Patrick J. Hughes
Now the co-founder of a veteran-run law firm designed for every legal issue for Veterans, DoD members, and their families, Patrick J. Hughes (“Pat”) served as an active duty Judge Advocate (JAG) for the United States Air Force (USAF) for over six years, separating from active duty and joining the Reserve in September 2017.
Since forming Patriots Law Group (PLG), he has practiced in Courts within Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia (DC), and New York on civil and/or criminal matters, as well as in Federal Courts, and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) on employment matters. He represents people located worldwide in administrative matters, such as for security clearance issues and the military services' Boards for Correction. The majority of his practice areas since 2020 have been a focus on military administrative matters with the military Boards for Correction, security clearance issues and litigation with the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA), employment law matters involving the MSPB and EEOC, and federal civil litigation against the military services for the denial of benefits/entitlements to service members. He has also represented numerous military members through their disciplinary actions, including responses in defense to adverse administrative actions and nonjudicial punishment (Article 15, UCMJ), and in discharge/separation board hearings.
He is admitted to practice in Maryland, Virginia, DC, New York, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the Court of Federal Claims, the Federal District Court of DC, the Federal District Court of Maryland, the Eastern and Western Federal District Courts of Virginia, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He was also accredited to practice on Veterans Affairs Appeals.
He has an established track record of success for his clients and five star Google reviews for how he treats them through the duration of their cases.
During his time in service, 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 traveled the eastern seaboard representing servicemembers in courts-martial, a Senior Officer Unfavorable Information File (SOUIF) and O-7 promotion board, nonjudicial 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 for Corrections of Military Records (BCMR), and involuntary administrative discharge actions. His experience included representation in matters involving drug use, fraud, theft, negligent homicide, 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/aircrew, maintainers, medics, and members of Joint Special Operations Command.
His courtroom successes led to him being ranked the #1 of 84 ADCs worldwide 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 benefits. He also supported the Labor Law Field Support Center in defending actions raised by DoD civilians in employment discrimination cases brought before the EEOC, as well as challenges to adverse employment actions taken up before the 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 in 2017, and then served almost four years as an Appellate Defense Counsel while a Reservist.
Pat and his close friend and former active duty Air Force colleague, Mike Lyons, look forward to continuing to build PLG. With what started as him, Mike, and one other staff member, PLG's successes have now grown to multiple offices with additional seasoned attorneys and staff teamed with Mike and Pat in their effort to assist the military community through all their legal needs.
View his LinkedIn Profile here.