Edwin (Ned) Chester, has been practicing law since 1977. For the last 35 years, Ned’s practice has focused almost exclusively on juvenile clients, representing adolescents in all Maine courts and in school disciplinary hearings. Ned represents children in a variety of circumstances, including children who have been charged with juvenile offenses, children who are facing suspension or expulsion from school, and as a guardian ad litem for children who have been taken into the custody of the State of Maine as a result of child maltreatment. In many cases, Ned is privately retained by parents seeking experienced representation for their child. In other cases, Ned is retained by the Department of Health and Human Services to represent a child in its custody, or is appointed by a court to represent a child of an indigent family or to represent a child whose parent is the victim of the alleged offense. Ned regularly appears in courts in Springvale, Biddeford, York, Portland, Bridgton, Bath, Lewiston and Rockland, but has also appeared in almost all of Maine’s juvenile courts.
Ned graduated from a dual-degree program at the University of North Carolina in 1977, with a Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law and a Master of Regional Planning from the Department of City and Regional Planning. Ned was a member of the Law Review, writing on search and seizure issues. Ned was first licensed to practice law in Maine in 1977.
Ned’s community work has included service on many state-wide and national boards, including Maine’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Group (many years as Vice Chair), Maine’s Juvenile Justice Task Force, Maine’s Juvenile Justice Implementation Council (Education Stakeholders Group, addressing truancy, expulsion and suspension), the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice, and the National Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Ned was a co-founder of the New England Juvenile Defender Center and Kids Legal Aid, an initiative of Pine Tree Legal Assistance.
In 2012, Ned was honored with national recognition from the American Bar Association as that year's recipient of the Livingston-Hall Award for his contributions to the field of juvenile justice at the local, state and federal levels.
Ned, and his wife and law partner, Barbara Vestal, are the parents of two grown sons. Personal interests include friends and family, sailing, music, and traveling.
Barbara Vestal has been practicing law in Maine since 1977. Barbara’s practice focuses on real estate, including assisting clients with the purchase and sale of real estate, development projects, and condominium conversion and management; and probate and decedent’s estates, including wills, guardianships, adoptions, powers of attorneys, advance health care directives, and similar estate planning matters. Barbara also serves as a guardian ad litem in child protective and probate cases, and as a mediator in real estate foreclosure matters. Her practice concentrates in Cumberland and York Counties.
As a member of the Law Review and Morehead Fellow in Law, Barbara received a Juris Doctor degree (with Honors) from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1977 and a Master of Regional Planning, also in 1977, from the Department of City and Regional Planning of the University of North Carolina. She was first licensed to practice law in Maine in 1977.
Barbara’s community work has included years of early involvement with the fledgling Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization and its afflilated Munjoy Hill Housing Association, including serving on their Boards of Directors; seven years as a Trustee of the Portland Ministry at Large; approximately ten years as a member of Portland’s Planning Board, including two years as its chair; six years on the Board of Trustees of Greater Portland Landmarks, and continuing involvement as an Advisory Trustee; and many years of involvement in a variety of municipal issues, particularly focused on Portland’s waterfront and historic preservation.
Barbara also served as a research associate and later the Associate Director of the Marine Law Institute of the University of Maine School of Law. Her research in that capacity involved subject areas such as management of the shoreline to preserve water-dependent uses, planning for sea-level rise, and regulation of cumulative impacts of development.
Barbara, and her husband and law partner, Edwin Chester, are the parents of two grown sons. Personal interests include friends and family, quilting, painting, gardening, and traveling.
Kris Dougherty graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1986 with a degree in mechanical engineering, and she continues to apply the logical reasoning and attention to detail that she learned as an undergrad to all of her work. She then attended Cornell University to earn an M. Eng./M.B.A., and was a systems analyst for several years. She decided to pursue her love of animals and the natural world by heading to Yale University for a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology. Afterword she did scientific research and taught at the graduate, undergraduate and high school levels.
In 2013, Kris came to Portland expecting to study environmental law. But after one summer volunteering at the Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic, and then one year as a student attorney, she discovered her passion for helping young people who become involved in the juvenile justice system. Kris finished her law degree from the University of Maine School of Law in 2016, where she graduated magna cum laude. She was a judicial law clerk in the Superior Court in Portland for one year. She then practiced as a solo attorney for one year before joining Chester & Vestal, P.A.
When she’s not practicing law, Kris is outside discovering Maine's natural beauty, digging for treasures at thrift shops, or listening to music and audio books.