The first 13 years of Rick’s legal career were spent in civil litigation, handling cases initially for public entities and insurance companies at a private firm in the San Francisco area. There he rose to the level of partner in fewer years than any other non-lateral hire in the firm’s 103-year history. His practice later included employment law, construction, and business law. During this time, Rick was also elected to the City Council where he resided, after serving on the planning commission for four years.
In the year 2000, Rick left private practice to become a tenured legal studies faculty member at Highline College near Seattle. While in higher education, he had the opportunity to teach courses in civil litigation, torts, employment law, contracts, civil rights, and real estate, founding the employment law and civil rights courses.
While in higher education, Rick served as a court-appointed arbitrator for the Superior Courts of Thurston, Mason, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties. He authored the chapter on “damages” in a State Bar Deskbook on Motor Vehicle Accidents, as well as a textbook on legal career advice. He was also legal advisor to the Thurston Economic Development Council.
The “Law Office of Richard L. Hughes, PLLC” was created with the idea that sophisticated, high quality legal services can be delivered in a communicative and cost-effective way that values the client and is always working toward a positive outcome.
In 2004, Richard L. Hughes left higher education to become General Counsel for a regional public utility. As such, Rick was the Chief Legal Officer for a $750 million entity, providing advice in a multitude of areas, including labor and employment law, corporate governance, construction, procurement, environmental, land use, insurance, Public Records Act, Open Public Meetings
Act, rate setting, water, and general utility risk management. At various times, while the corporation was in its early years, Rick also oversaw finance, human resources, contracts, and the public records management functions. In 2010, Rick was chosen the agency’s first “Employee of the Year.”
In 2015, Rick decided to return to his professional roots in private practice, while retaining his former employer as a client. The “Law Office of Richard L. Hughes, PLLC” was created with the idea that sophisticated, high quality legal services can be delivered in a communicative and cost-effective way that values the client and is always working toward a positive outcome. Rick’s return to private practice also supports his belief that working with a lawyer should not be a mysterious, intimidating experience.
Rick also believes in giving back to the community through his time and his financial support. He served on the Board of Regents of Leadership Thurston County from 2014 to 2020, and as chair of the board in 2015-2016. He was a board member of Thurston Together, a local non-profit that advocates for youth drug and alcohol abuse prevention. He served as Board President for five of his seven years with Together. Rick has been a member of the Paralegal Program Advisory Committee with leaders in the legal community since 2015.
Rick has been a presenter at the Washington Trial Lawyers Association, Washington Labor Relations Institute (twice), Washington State Paralegal Association, Washington Public Utility District Association, Washington Sewer and Water District Association, Washington State Transit Association, and the Washington State Transit Insurance Pool. He assisted in writing legislation in the areas of employee background checks, utility regional governance, and public agency procurement.
Rick and his wife of over 30 years reside in Olympia, Washington. They have two kids, one a graduate of the University of Washington and the other a graduate of Northwest University. In his spare time, Rick enjoys riding a bicycle in various events, such as the Marin Century, Apple Century, Ride the Harbor, and the Daffodil Classic.