Attorney Edward Foley Vaughan
College: Harvard University, B.A., cum laude, 1960
Law School: Harvard Law School, LL.B., 1964
Admitted: New York, 1965, Massachusetts, 1978, U.S. Federal Courts 1965, U.S. Tax Court, 1972
Over the course of my legal practice, I have lived and worked in New York City and Nantucket. After active duty with the Army National Guard in 1964, I began to work with my father in New York City in a firm known as Vaughan and Lyons. Our practice was focused in the Surrogate’s Court of New York County and specialized in Estate litigation and administration. My father worked closely for many years with Surrogate James A. Delahanty and when Judge Delahanty left the bench in 1948, he became of counsel to my father’s firm. We were lead counsel in many will contests, both for the proponent and for the contestant, although more often for the former. We represented large estates, most notably the estate of J. J. Shubert, the theatre magnate, whose gross estate was valued, finally, at $84,000,000; we represented a contesting heir in the estate of Billy Rose; we successfully defended a challenge to the will of Anton Meister, a New York chiropractor who died in 1965 with a (then) fortune of $7,000,000 in a trial that lasted 20 days, making it, until the Rothko and Johnson cases, one of the longest trials conducted in the New York County Surrogate’s Court. During my New York practice, I also briefed and argued appeals in the Appellate Division and the Court of Appeals which sits in Albany and is the highest court in the state.
One the death of my father in 1977, I moved to Nantucket, Massachusetts to begin the second phase of my professional career.
I was admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in February 1978 and, for the first four years, used the ground floor of my home on Fair Street as an office. In 1981, Kevin F. Dale joined me. In 1982 we moved to our present address on Whalers Lane and in 1984 the firm of Vaughan and Dale, now Vaughan, Dale, Hunter and Beaudette P.C. was formed.
My Massachusetts practice, as is the case in most small, rural practices, began largely with the representation of persons interested in real estate. I also began to build up an estate practice, but that took a considerably greater time. Real estate law on Nantucket embraces a wide variety of disciplines, and I became particularly interested in municipal work. In 1982 the Selectmen appointed me Nantucket Town Counsel a part-time position and one in which I served for four years. I did everything for the Town, representing all of its boards, the police, fire, school and building departments, various town individuals and I conducted all aspects of litigation for the Town. At any one point in time, I was actively pursuing up to fifteen lawsuits on behalf of the Town, the increased value of real estate having generated a host of plaintiffs who believed the Town boards were not treating them as they would like. My choice was to become a full-time municipal attorney or to go back to purely private practice. I chose the latter, resigning as Town Counsel in October 1986.
As the firm grew in size, my own estate practice continued to develop. I turned more and more of the real estate work over to my partners and, today, my real estate world is confined, as a rule, to large transactions and real estate arising out of my estate work. My trial work has also lessened, although I tried an accretion case in the Land Court several years ago.
My rating in Martindale Hubbell is a-v.
Professionally I recently served for several years on the Judicial Nominating Committee for southeastern Massachusetts.
Locally I have served in a number of volunteer positions in the community. I was for many years a trustee and, later, a vice president of the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. I have coached soccer and little league Baseball. For twenty-four years I was a member of the Nantucket Memorial Airport Commission, and for my last thirteen years, it’s Chairman. In 1998, my son, then 18 and a CFI taught me how to fly. My son in the meantime is a reserve Tennessee Air National Guard pilot and a pilot for Federal Express.