On Wednesday, February 8, 2023, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania suspended attorney Evan T.L. Hughes for incompetent representation of clients.

The case is entitled “Office of the Disciplinary Counsel v. Evan T.L. Hughes” and was brought by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel with case no. 40 DB 2022.

The charges cited Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a)(3), 1.4(a)(4), 1.4(b), 1.8(h)(1), 1.5(a), 1.15(e), 1.16(d), 2.1 and 8.4(c) which state:

A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.

A lawyer shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

A lawyer shall keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the matter.

A lawyer shall promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.

A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.

A lawyer shall not make an agreement prospectively limiting the lawyer’s liability to a client for malpractice unless the client is independently represented in making the agreement.

A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement for, charge, or collect illegal or clearly excessive fee factors to be considered in determining the propriety of the fee includes the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly.

A lawyer shall promptly deliver to the client or third person any property, including but not limited to Rule 1.15 Funds, that the client or third person is entitled to receive.

Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests, such as. refunding any advance payment of fee or expense that has not been earned or incurred.

In representing a client, a lawyer shall exercise independent professional judgment and render candid advice. In rendering advice, a lawyer may refer not only to law but to other considerations such as moral, economic, social, and political factors, that may be relevant to the client’s situation.

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

The Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

In the Joint Petition in Support of Discipline on Consent filed by the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel, it was alleged that the respondent, while representing a client in a felony conviction in Delaware County, was complained by the wife of the convict for alleged incompetent representation of her husband.

The filing states:

“By two emails sent to Respondent on July 17, 2020, Ms. Howard:

a. stated that the “lies have to stop
b. stated that the “equities” package that Respondent had previously stated that his firm had sent on behalf of Mr. Waggeh was a one-page letter dated February 15, 2020;
C. requested a full refund of the $3,500 that she had previously paid to Respondent’s firm;
d. informed Respondent that she had filed a complaint with the Disciplinary Board; and
e. stated that she had completed the 1-130 petition and application of removal herself.”

The filing continues:

“By email to Respondent dated July 19, 2020, Ms. Howard forwarded the October 26, 2019 email sent to her by Mr. Freeman, which induced her to pay his fees, and pointed out that:

a. no visit to her husband had taken place
b. no exploration of the option for cancellation removal was conducted;
c. no reopening of the criminal case occurred; and
d. no path to citizenship had been described.”

In the multiple charges against Mr. Hughes, the same pattern of misconduct was allegedly committed by the respondent.

The filing further states:

“By email sent to Respondent on September 19, 2020, Ms. Gains relayed a message from Mr. Holder in which Mr. Holder stated:

a. He attempted to telephone Respondent every morning that week to obtain a status update;
b. The last message that he received from Respondent was that Respondent would provide him with a status update the previous week via mail;
c. He had yet to receive anything
d. He mailed a letter to Respondent on September 14, 2020, regarding an update; and
e. He was looking forward to hearing a good report from the Respondent soon.”

The Petitioner and the Respondent jointly recommend the suspension of the latter in response to the allegations to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The court then adopted the recommendation and Ordered the suspension of the respondent for a period of one year and one day.

The Disposition states:

“AND NOW, this 8h day of February 2023, upon consideration of the Recommendation of the Three-Member Panel of the Disciplinary Board, the Joint Petition in Support of Discipline on Consent is granted, and Evan TL. Hughes is suspended on consent from the Bar of this Commonwealth for a period of one year and one day.”

As of today, Mr. Hughes is listed on the law firm The Hughes Firm, LLC as a practicing attorney. His info can be found on Linkedin. Evan attended the Widener University School of Law, graduating in 2004. He practices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is licensed in Pennsylvania.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.