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S. Lucky DeFries

Mr. DeFries joined Morris Laing’s Topeka office in 2021 to lead the firm’s state and local tax practice. Before joining Morris Laing, Lucky was a shareholder with Coffman, DeFries and Northern P.A. where he had practiced since 1985. Following law school, Lucky joined the Kansas Department of Revenue where he was the attorney in charge of sales and use tax litigation. In 1983, Mr. DeFries joined Ralston and Frieden where he practiced until 1985.

Lucky has been recognized in the publication “Best Lawyers in America” in the areas of Tax and Tax Controversies since 1995 and has been listed in the Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers publication since 2005 in the tax category. He has represented small to medium size companies as well as many Fortune 500 and some Fortune 10 companies. Mr. DeFries has also represented several of the country’s largest privately held companies. His practice is focused in the area of state and local tax matters as well as incentives available at both the state and local level.

Mr. DeFries has been active at both the state and national level with organizations that deal with state and local tax matters. During his career, he has been involved with many of the most significant state and local tax cases in Kansas.

When not practicing law, Lucky enjoys reading, swimming, horseback riding, travel and good music. Additionally, he has always placed a high priority on civic involvement and pro bono service (something he inherited from his family).

Since the mid-1980s, Lucky has spoken on a regular basis in connection with sales and use tax, property tax, and corporate income tax matters. He has spoken on state and local tax matters in connection with conferences presented by the Kansas CPA Society, the Wichita State University Audit and Accounting Conference, the Kansas Public Accountants Association, the Kansas Association of Tax Representatives (made up of industry representatives from state-assessed companies), the National Association of State Bar Tax Sections (NASBTS), the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, seminars offered by Lorman, NBI and PESI, conferences co-sponsored by the Institute for Professionals in Taxation and the American Bar Association (IPT/ABA), conferences sponsored by IPT, the Council on State Taxation (COST), the National Association of Property Tax Representatives Transportation Energy and  Communications (NAPTR-TEC), the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, the Topeka Bar Association, and the Kansas Bar Association.

Given the interest of his clients, Mr. DeFries has been involved in any legislation arising in the tax arena on a yearly basis. He has worked closely with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce and other organizations which have historically helped to shape tax policy in the State of Kansas. In 1995 he helped establish the Secretary of Revenue’s Advisory Council, which served as a resource for the Secretary of Revenue, and served continuously on that council until it became inactive. He also helped establish the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals Bench-Bar Committee and has chaired that committee since its inception.

Education:
  • Ottawa University (BA – 1975)
  • Washburn University School of Law (J.D. 1978)
Admissions:
  • Kansas, 1978
Professional Background:
  • American Bar Association, Tax and State & Local Tax (Executive Committee) sections
  • Kansas Bar Association, (Past President- Administrative Law Section), (Past President-Tax Section), Executive Committee-Tax Section
  • Topeka Bar Association, Chair- Topeka Bar Association Ethics & Grievance Committee (over 15 years)
  • National Association of State Bar Tax Sections, Executive Committee (1996-present), Chairman (2002)
  • Kansas Board of Discipline, 2018-2021
  • Tax Council Network (Kansas Representative)
  • Washburn University School of Law, Adjunct Professor, State and Local Taxation (1993-present)
  • Advisory Council – Secretary of Revenue (1995-2010)
  • Bench Bar Committee- Kansas Board Tax Appeals, Chair since its inception
  • Kansas State Tax Service Practice Insights (Matthew Bender), General Editor (2006)
  • Kansas Annual Survey – Tax Chapter, Co-Author (2006-present)
  • “Kansas Income Tax Portfolio”, Bloomberg BNA (Kansas)
Civic/Community Involvement:
  • Washburn University School of Law, Board of Governors (2011-present), Vice Chairman (2015-2017), Chairman of the Board (2018-2020), Past Chair (2020-present)
  • Ottawa University, Board of Trustees (Vice Chair), Executive Committee, Chairman of the Board (2016-present)
  • First Baptist Church, Finance Committee, Past Chair- Administration, Various other roles over 30 years, First Baptist Church Foundation (2019-present)
  • Capper Foundation, Past Board Member, Past Chair, Current Member of Advisory, Council, Capper Fiscal Committee
  • Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Former Vice Chair of Governmental Affairs, Past Board Member, Past Chair (1999 and 2001)
  • Growth Organization of Topeka/Shawnee County (GO Topeka), Past Chair and Board Member (2000-2015), Part of group that founded GO Topeka and was its incorporator
  • Historic Topeka, Inc., Past Board Member and Officer
  • St. Francis Hospital Foundation, Chair (2015-2017), Board Member (2011-2017)
  • St. Francis Hospital Board, Member (2015-2017)
  • Topeka Railroad Days, Past Board Member
  • Topeka Civic Theater and Academy, Past Board Member
  • YMCA of Topeka, Past Chair and current member of Executive Committee
  • YMCA of Topeka Foundation, Past Board Member
  • Jayhawk Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, Past Chair and current member of Executive Board
  • Kansas Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Past Board Member
  • Legal Aid Society of Topeka, Past Chair and Board member
  • Kansas Legal Services, Past Board Member and Officer
Distinctions:
  • Listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” (Tax) 1995-present
  • Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers (Tax) 2005-present
  • Ottawa High School Wall of Honor
  • Capper Foundation Workhorse Awards
  • Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Award (1995)
  • Pro Bono Certificate- Kansas Bar Association
  • Class Honoree, Jayhawk Area Council Boy Scouts-2015 Gathering of Eagles
  • KBA Pro Bono Certificate

*CV, BV and AV are all registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.

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