Waterman-Langone at Boston Harborside

580 Commercial Street, Boston, MA


Walter Goff Van Dorn

September 15, 1933February 1, 2020

Boston attorney Walter G. Van Dorn, a fixture in the legal community and practitioner at several prominent law firms, most recently K&L Gates, died of natural causes in Boston, MA on February 1 at the age of 86.

After graduating Harvard Law School in 1960, Walter built a diverse tax practice with mastery of federal and state income taxation as well as estate planning and real estate transactions. Over his more than fifty-year career, Walter was known as a prototypical, old-school tax attorney with concentrations in tax planning for business, including mergers and acquisitions; sales of businesses; financial transactions and instruments; compensation; valuation matters; foreign-related transactions; and operational matters.

Mr. Van Dorn was a co-author of Massachusetts Taxation, the leading treatise on the workings of the tax laws of the Commonwealth and was an advisor to the Special Committee on the Uniform Conservation Easement Act. A long-time member of ACTEC and officer of the Federal Tax Institute of New England, Walter was active in the Massachusetts Bar Association and will be remembered for generously sharing his knowledge and insights with fellow practitioners. A former lecturer at Boston University School of Law, he was adept in helping colleagues through complicated and challenging issues, often in novel and imaginative ways. Walter embraced and fulfilled his role of being a teacher to all who sought his counsel.

Born on September 15,1933 in Orange, New Jersey, Walter attended Columbia High School, earned an A.B. from Dartmouth College and a LL.B. from Harvard Law School. Walter was a loyal supporter of the Brooklyn Dodgers and devotee of traditional early 20th century jazz. He was passionate about cooking, gardening, and animals, particularly the numerous Welsh Corgis who inhabited his Boston and Wellfleet homes.

Walter is survived by his wife Elizabeth Nimitz Van Dorn, his four sons, Walter Jr., Gerald, Peter and William, and four grandchildren.

As he wished, there will be no formal funeral services. Memorial donations may be made to Goddard House,165 Chestnut Street, Brookline MA 02445 or Care Dimensions Hospice, 75 Sylvan Street, Danvers, MA 01923.


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Walter Goff Van Dorn

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