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Experienced Attorneys in Topeka

Based in Topeka, Kansas, the attorneys at Coffman, DeFries & Nothern, P.A. have been recognized throughout the country as respected advisers.

R. Austin Nothern was included in *The Best Lawyers in America magazine's list of tax and trusts and estates professionals; S. Lucky DeFries was selected for inclusion in *The Best Lawyers in America in the magazine's tax category. H. Hurst Coffman was included in *The Best Lawyers in America magazine's estate planning list.

Contact the experienced tax professionals of Coffman, DeFries & Nothern, P.A. at 785-234-3461.

*The Best Lawyers in America®. Copyright 2012 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC.

H. Hurst Coffman

H. Hurst Coffman

Location: Topeka, Kansas
Phone: 785-234-3461

Fax: 785-234-3363

Year Joined Firm: 1976

Areas of Practice:

  • 40% Estate Planning
  • 50% Trust Administration
  • 10% Elder Law

Bar Admissions: Kansas

Education

  • American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, District of Columbia J.D. - 1973
  • Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas B.A. - 1969 Major: English

​​Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Rotary Club of Topeka, President, 1992 – 1993
  • Topeka Bar Association, Member
  • Kansas Bar Association, Member

Past Employment Positions
​Coffman, DeFries & Nothern, P.A., Secretary, 1982 - 2014

J. Richelle ​Crow-Johnson

J. Richelle Crow-Johnson

J. Richelle Crow-Johnson joined Coffman, DeFries & Nothern, P.A. as an attorney in December of 2015. She is originally from Grand Island, Nebraska.

Shelli has a B.S. in accounting from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Beginning in 1983, Shelli was an internal auditor and budget analyst for the Union Pacific Corporation. In 1985, she earned her CPA certificate.

In 1988, Shelli's family relocated to Topeka. By 1990, she earned her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. Since graduating from law school, she has worked in private law practice, served as a trust officer, and worked as a CPA specializing in the areas of tax preparation and estate planning.

Shelli is a member of the Kansas Bar Association, the Topeka Bar Association, Douglas County Estate Planning Council (President 2015 & 2016; Executive Committee 2013-2016), the Nebraska State Bar Association, the American Academy of Attorney-CPAs, and the KEEN Topeka Chapter of the American Business Women's Association.

Location: Topeka, Kansas
Phone: 785-234-3461

Fax: 785-234-3363

Year Joined Firm: 2015

Areas of Practice:

  • Estate Planning
  • Tax Planning
  • Estate & Gift Tax Returns
  • Fiduciary & Individual Income Tax Returns

Bar Admissions:

  • Kansas, 1990
  • Nebraska, 1991
  • U.S. District Court District of Kansas, 1990
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1991

Education

  • University of Kansas School of Law, Lawrence, Kansas J.D. - 1990
  • University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska B.S. - 1983 Honors: Beta Alpha Phi Honor Society
    Major: Business Administration
    Major: Accounting

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Academy of Attorney - CPAs
  • Kansas Bar Association
  • Nebraska State Bar Association
  • Topeka Bar Association
  • Douglas County Estate Planning Council, President, 2015 & 2016
  • American Business Women's Association - Topeka KEEN Chapter
  • American Institute of CPAs
  • Kansas Society of CPAs
  • Northeast Kansas Chapter of KSCPA
  • Nebraska Society of CPAs
  • Public Accountants Association of Kansas

Past Employment Positions

  • Private law practice, Associate Attorney, 1990 - 1993
  • US Bank (formerly Mercantile Bank), Vice President and Trust Officer, 1993 - 2000
  • Wendling Noe Nelson & Johnson, LLC, Senior Tax Accountant & CPA, 2007 - 2012
  • Mize Houser & Company P.A., Tax Manager & CPA, 2012 - 2015

Joshua A. Decker

Joshua A. Decker

Joshua Decker joined Coffman, DeFries & Nothern, P.A. as a law clerk in May of 2011 and has been practicing law since 2012 when he was officially welcomed into the firm as an associate attorney. He grew up in a small Kansas town in the southeastern part of the state. He attended the University of Kansas before graduating with his law degree from Washburn University School of Law. In the classroom he studied Tax Law, Business Transactions, and Estate Planning issues.

Josh is currently an active member of the Topeka Young Lawyers Association, the Kansas Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, the Kansas Bar Association Tax Law Section, and the Kansas Bar Association Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section.

In his free time, Josh avidly cheers for his favorite sports teams, plays basketball and other sports at the gym, and spends time with his dog, Jasper. He also enjoys mentoring youths as an active Big Brother in the “Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters” organization.

Location: Topeka, Kansas
Phone: 785-234-3461

Fax: 785-234-3363

Areas of Practice

  • 80% Estate Planning/Administration
  • 10% Tax Preparation
  • 5% Business Organizations
  • 5% Real Estate Law/Oil and Gas Leasing

Litigation Percentage

  • 5% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Bar Admissions
  • Kansas, 2012
  • U.S. District Court District of Kansas, 2012

Education

  • Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas J.D. - 2012
    Honors: Estate Planning Certificate
    Honors: Business and Transactional Law Certificate
    Honors: Tax Law Certificate
  • University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas B.A. - 2009
    Major: History

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Kansas Bar Association Tax Law Section, Member, 2012 - Present
  • Kansas Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, Member, 2012 - Present
  • Kansas Bar Association, Member, 2012 - Present
  • Topeka Bar Association, Member, 2012 - Present
  • Topeka Young Lawyers Association, Member, 2012 - Present
  • Kansas Bar Association Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section, Member, 2012 – Present

Ancillary Businesses

  • Tax Preparation
Fraternities/Sororities
  • Phi Alpha Delta

S. Lucky DeFries

S. Lucky DeFries

Location: Topeka, Kansas
Phone: 785-234-3461

Fax: 785-234-3363

Year Joined Firm: 1985

Areas of Practice

  • Administrative Law
  • State and Local Tax Litigation
  • Appellate Practice
  • Corporate Law

Bar Admissions

  • Kansas, 1978
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1988

Education

  • Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas J.D. - 1978
  • Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas B.A. – 1975

Published Works

  • Co-author, with Jeffrey A. Wietharn, the Administrative Law Section of the Kansas Bar Association’s 2015 Kansas Annual Survey of Law

  • Co-author, with Jeffrey A. Wietharn, the Kansas section of the Committee on State Taxation (COST) Fall 2015 - 50 State Developments Summary Update

  • Co-author, with Jeffrey A. Wietharn, the Tax Law Section of the Kansas Bar Association’s 2015 Kansas Annual Survey of Law

  • Co-author, with Jeffrey A. Wietharn, the Institute for Professionals in Taxation Tax Report, January 2014, Kansas Litigation Regarding the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline Property Tax Exemption

  • Co-author, with Jeffrey A. Wietharn, the Administrative Law Section of the Kansas Bar Association’s 2016 Kansas Annual Survey of Law

  • Co-author, with Jeffrey A. Wietharn, 2016 Bloomberg BNA Kansas Corporate Income Tax Portfolio


Representative Clients

  • Colgate Palmolive Company
  • Elf Atochem North America
  • General Dynamics
  • PPG Industries, Inc
  • Simon Property Group
  • Texaco
  • U.S. West
  • Union Carbide
  • VF Corporation

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Topeka Bar Association, Member
  • Kansas Bar Association, President, Tax Section
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • National Association of State Bar, Member, Executive Committee, Section of Tax

Past Employment Positions

  • Kansas Department of Revenue, Staff Attorney, 1979 - 1983

R. Austin Nothern

Austin Nothern

R. Austin Nothern graduated, magna cum laude, from Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas, in 1964. He received LL.M. in Taxation from New York University in 1967, where he was Graduate Editor of the Tax Law Review. He graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. in Political Science in 1960. Austin was an instructor in Taxation and Real Estate Planning at Washburn University School of Law for over 10 years, and he served two terms as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives. He is listed in the Best Lawyers in America®, under the categories of “Tax Law” and “Trusts and Estates Law”, (Lawyer of the Year, “Tax Law”, Topeka, Kansas) and is a Fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel. Member: Topeka Bar and Kansas Bar Associations.

Location: Topeka, Kansas
Phone: 785-234-3461

Fax: 785-234-3363

Year Joined Firm: 1985

Areas of Practice

  • Contracts
  • Business Organizations
  • Probate & Estate Administration
  • Taxation Law
  • Estate Planning Trusts

Litigation Percentage

  • 5% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Kansas, 1964

Education

  • New York University School of Law, New York, New York LL.M. Tax, Master of Law(s) in Taxation - 1967
  • Washburn University School of Law, Topeka, Kansas J.D. – 1964

Classes/Seminars

  • Taxation and Real Estate Planning, Washburn University School of Law

Lance A. Weeks

Lance A. Weeks

Location: Topeka, Kansas
Phone: 785-234-3461

Fax: 785-234-3363

Admitted to bar 1997, Kansas: 1998, Missouri: also admitted to practice before U.S. District Courts, District of Kansas and Western District of Missouri; U.S. Tax Court. Preparatory education: University of Kansas (B.A. 1993); legal education: University of Kansas School of Law (J.D. 1997); University of Missouri Kansas City, School of Law (LL.M./ Taxation 1998). Member: Topeka and Kansas Bar Association, The Missouri Bar.

Areas of Practice

  • Probate
  • Trust Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Individual and Fiduciary Income Taxation
  • Real Estate

Litigation Percentage

  • 5% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Bar Admissions
  • Kansas, 1997
  • Missouri, 1998
  • U.S. District Court District of Kansas, 1997
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Missouri

Education

  • University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Kansas City, Missouri L.L.M (Taxation) - 1998
  • University of Kansas School of Law, Lawrence, Kansas J.D. - 1997
  • University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas B.A. – 1993

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Kansas Bar Association, Member
  • Topeka Bar Association, Member
  • Douglas County Estate Planning Council, 2011 - Present
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters, 2012 – Present

Languages

  • English

Jeffrey A. Wietharn

Location: Topeka, Kansas
Phone: 785-234-3461

Fax: 785-234-3363

Year Joined Firm: 1994

Areas of Practice

  • 20% Administrative Law
  • 20% Business Organizations
  • 20% Contracts
  • 20% Real Estate Law
  • 20% Tax Law

Litigation Percentage

  • 20% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Kansas, 1992
  • Missouri, 1993
Education
  • University of Kansas School of Law, Lawrence, Kansas J.D. - 1992
    Law Review: University of Kansas Law Review, 1990 - 1992
  • University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas B.S. - 1989
    Major: Business Administration

Published Works

  • Deferred Like-Kind Exchanges Under Internal Revenue Code, Section 1031, Topeka Kansas Bar Association, August, 1999

  • Co-author, with S. Lucky DeFries, the Administrative Law Section of the Kansas Bar Association’s 2015 Kansas Annual Survey of Law

  • Co-author, with S. Lucky DeFries, the Kansas section of the Committee on State Taxation (COST) Fall 2015 - 50 State Developments Summary Update

  • Co-author, with S. Lucky DeFries, the Institute for Professionals in Taxation Tax Report, January 2014, Kansas Litigation Regarding the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline Property Tax Exemption

  • Co-author, with S. Lucky DeFries, the Administrative Law Section of the Kansas Bar Association’s 2016 Kansas Annual Survey of Law

  • Co-author, with S. Lucky DeFries, the Kansas section of the Committee on State Taxation (COST) Spring and Fall 2016 - 50 State Developments Summary Update

  • Co-author, with S. Lucky DeFries, 2016 Bloomberg BNA Kansas Corporate Income Tax Portfolio

Representative Cases

  • In the Matter of the Appeal of Timothy S. Gates from a Decision of the Real Estate Commission, 273 Kansas 1025 (Kansas Supreme Court 2002)

  • Heiland v. Dunnick, 270 Kansas 663 (Kansas Supreme Court 2001)

Classes/Seminars

  • Lecturer, Sales and Property Tax Issues, The Public Accountants Association of Kansas, Inc., 1996

  • Lecturer, Overview of Kansas Income Tax Changes for 2013, presented to the Douglas County Estate Planning Council, March 19, 2013

  • Attended, Appraiser Regulatory Agency Investigator Training, presented by ARRO/The Appraisal Foundation, Chicago 2011

  • Lecturer, Deferred Like Kind Exchanges under Internal Revenue Code Section 1031, presented to Mize Houser & Co., November 2010

  • Lecturer, Estate Planning Issues, presented to Kansas Gas Service, May 18, 2010

  • Lecturer, May 13, 2016, Sales and Property Tax Update continuing education class through the Kansas Bar Association at the Hyatt Place/Lenexa City Center

  • Lecturer, September 1, 2016, Estate Planning Issues, Kansas Air National Guard, Forbes Field

Honors and Awards

  • Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers, 2010 - 2011

  • Ingram's Magazine - 40 Under Forty, 2005

  • Leadership Topeka Graduate, 1999

  • Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, Topeka Bar Association, 1996

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Kansas Bar Association, Member
  • Topeka Bar Association, Member

Past Employment Positions

  • Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe, Kansas Court of Appeals, Research Attorney, 1992 – 1994

Languages

  • English

Fraternities/Sororities

  • Alpha Tau Omega

Coffman, DeFries & Nothern, P.A.

534 S. Kansas Ave., Suite 925
​Topeka, KS 66603
Phone:  785-234-3461
Fax: 785-234-3363
Email us by filling out the form
​on the contact us page.
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