John W. Hughes: On the Basis of Service

John W. Hughes
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“If a dog can’t sleep with you, you don’t need a dog,” says attorney John W. Hughes. Semi-retired, one of Hughes great interests is in rescuing animals. “I love life. I love people. I love my family. And I love my dogs. We’ve rescued and delivered more than 250 Golden Retrievers. We always have some running around. They’re just like family.”

Hughes is a sole practitioner with 57 years of legal and business experience. His practice is now limited to mediation and arbitration. After obtaining his certification in 1992 by Dispute Resolution Services of Tarrant County, Hughes and his staff have scheduled and mediated more than 6,000 diverse cases. Many of those cases were complicated multi-party cases with as many as 48 different parties.

He limits his mediations to about five cases a month with a focus on complicated issues. “Either we have a problem with the client, the lawyer, the facts or all of it. That’s the kind of case I generally handle,” he says.

Hughes lives in Red River, New Mexico, and often travels to DFW to meet the continuing demand for his services. He says his professional career has been sustained on the basis of service to his clients, his business, and to the law.

“Any time I start trying to get rich out of what I’m trying to do, I come up shallow. If I’m seeking to only serve people, I come up very successful. I ask people who want to go to law school, ’Why?’ If they say, ‘Well, I can make more money.’ I say, ‘Well, you might, but you’re going to be a sad fellow doing it because the law business is a service business. We’re here to serve and help people with their legal issues.’”

Hughes relates an interesting story to explain the word “semi-retirement” on his current resume. “I walked into the office of a very prominent Fort Worth attorney. He was 83 years old and I said, ‘Good Gosh. What are you doing here? You ought to be retired.’ He said, ‘Life is simple, John. If I go home, I’m a slave. If I go to the office, they get me a cup of coffee.’”

Hughes put his own interpretation of that remark. “I’d rather mediate than play golf. At least I know what I’m doing in one of them. I have no intention of retiring. I’ll retire when the lawyers quit calling me.”

He remains active not only in the law, but in his new community. “I live about 9,500 ft. elevation in the mountains near Red River, New Mexico. We’re up where our neighbors include bear, deer and elk. My hobby is tending to matters around the house, hiking and walking, gathering with new friends, teaching Bible lessons.”

“Up here neighbors help neighbors. Somedays I’m helping a neighbor and somedays a neighbor is helping me. It’s just a wonderful way to live. We love each other. We have each other’s best interests at heart. You kinda expect to see Norman Rockwell walking down the street.”

Hughes says, “My control panel is to seek the will of God and do it. Or don’t do it, whichever rule applies. I’m an evangelical Christian. I’m a Bible teacher and sometimes I preach. I’ve accepted Christ. Evangelical is an emotional word. The ultimate truth on all things in life is that Jesus Christ is the only way. We’re justified by faith and faith alone. The Bible is my rock. That’s what leads my life.”

Dan Baldwin

Dan Baldwin is a writer for Attorney at Law Magazine. He has been contributing to the magazine since 2012.

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