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Vester T. Hughes

Fax +1.214.939.5849

K&L Gates mourns the passing of our legendary partner Vester T. Hughes, Jr.  Vester’s extraordinary contributions to the legal community and the profession will be sorely missed.

Mr. Hughes' many years of private practice have spanned many aspects of federal taxation -- income, estate, gift and excise -- individual and corporate.  Mr. Hughes has argued two cases before the United States Supreme Court (and been lead counsel in two additional cases before the court, one of which was decided March 7, 2005, in favor of his client).  He continues to participate in litigation at all levels of trial and appellate courts, including arguing cases in U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. Claims Court, Texas Supreme Court and other courts of administrative agencies as well as presenting cases to Federal District courts and the United States Tax Court.  On several occasions he has successfully lobbied Congress on behalf of clients to amend the federal tax laws and he often is called on by staff members of the Treasury Department and the Congressional tax-writing committees for his views on tax policy and pending legislation not directly affecting any specific client but as a public interest commentator.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Tax planning
  • Tax issues
  • Tax litigation

Professional Background

After graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was Editor of the Harvard Law Review, Mr. Hughes clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark.   He is very active in his community, having served on the Board of Directors for numerous organizations and companies, and as a visiting Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University Law School lecturing in Federal Taxation. He has also authored many publications relating to federal taxation and lectured at numerous Tax Institutes and Estate Council meetings.


Mr. Hughes has received numerous recognitions throughout his career, including:

  • Chambers & Partners, Tax (Senior Statesman) (Texas), Chambers USA , 2007 and Band S. 2013
  • Best Lawyers in America 2005-2009, Tax Law
  • Best Lawyers in America 2013-2017, Tax Law
  • Morris Harrell Professionalism Award, The Texas Center for Legal Ethics & Professionalism and the Dallas Bar Association, 2005
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Rice University, 2005
  • Texas SuperLawyer, Law & Politics Magazine and Texas Monthly, 2003-2008, 2006, 2007 and 2008
    • Top 100, 2008
    • Top 100, 2006
  • Outstanding Texas Tax Lawyer Award, State Bar of Texas, 2003
  • Outstanding Fifty-Year Lawyer Award, Texas Bar Foundation, 2003
  • Best Lawyers in Dallas, Tax Law, D Magazine, 2003, 2008, 2011
  • Best Lawyers in America, Tax, Corporate Counsel, 2003

Professional/Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association, Council, Taxation Section; Chairman, Taxation Section Committee on Affiliated and Related Corporations
  • State Bar of Texas, Chairman, Section of Taxation; Chairman, Section of Taxation Committee on Specialization of Tax Practice
  • Dallas Bar Association
  • The American Law Institute, Advisory Group, rewrite of Federal Estate and Gift Tax Law; Council Member; Advisory Group, rewrite of Subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code, 1976 to 1980 and 1986 to 1988
  • Chairman, Southwestern Regional Commissioner's Tax Lawyers Internal Revenue Service Liaison Committee
  • The Center for American and International Law (formerly Southwestern Legal Foundation), Institute Chairman, Taxation Division; Chairman, Taxation Division
  • Trustee, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
  • Vice President, Executive Committee, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
  • Tax Counsel, Communities Foundation of Texas, Inc., 1959 to present
  • Board of Directors, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 1982 to present
  • Board of Directors, LX Cattle Company (Amarillo, Texas)
  • Board of Directors, Exell Cattle Company (Amarillo, Texas)
  • Board of Directors, Austin Industries, Inc., 1974-2004 (Dallas, Texas)
  • Board of Directors, Murphy Oil Corporation, 1973-2000 (El Dorado, Arkansas)
  • Board of Directors, Sammons Enterprises, Inc. (Dallas, Texas)
  • Board of Directors, Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Inc. (Dallas, Texas)
  • Visiting Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University Law School lecturing in Federal Taxation
  • Secretary, Harvard Law School Association
  • Advisory Committee, Texas Supreme Court
  • Member of Board of Overseers, Visiting Committee, Harvard Law School
  • Commissioner, Internal Revenue's Small Business Advisory Group

Speaking Engagements

  • Graduate Division Seminar, Deferred Compensation Arrangements, Southern Methodist University Law School
  • Lectured at numerous Tax Institutes and Estate Council meetings

Additional Information

  • Many publications relating to federal taxation