On June 8, exactly 60 years after Stefan “Stef” Tucker, BBA ’60, JD ’63, attended his law school graduation at the University of Michigan, a community of friends, family, and colleagues gathered to honor him as the 2023 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, Michigan Law’s most prestigious honor.

“To receive the Distinguished Alumni Award at a place like Michigan Law, which is full of talented alumni, is a remarkable accomplishment,” said Mark West, the David A. Breach Dean of Law and Nippon Life Professor of Law. “There’s no doubt that Stef has earned his place among the Law School’s list of distinguished alumni.”

Tucker attended Flint Community College for two years before transferring to the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Marilyn, met as undergraduates and married after his first year of law school. Today, they are the proud parents of two University of Michigan graduates. 

“I am really grateful,” said Tucker, addressing those who attended the celebration. “I’m thrilled you all are here because if you were colleagues of mine, you’re not here because you were colleagues but because you are friends.”

An influential practitioner and prodigious mentor

After clerking at the US Tax Court, Tucker began his career in private practice as an associate in the Washington, DC, office of Arent Fox. After five years as a partner, he and four others formed Tucker Flyer in 1975, which merged with Venable LLP in 2000. Today, he specializes in entity planning, structuring and formation, asset protection and preservation, business transactions, and family business planning and wealth preservation.

“We can all agree that Stef is super smart, energetic, diligent, personable, and always positive,” said Michael Flyer, ’62, co-founder of Tucker Flyer, fellow Michigan Law grad, and longtime friend. “After 10 years with a large law firm, he believed that we could serve clients in a special way as a smaller firm of our own—and he was right.”

Establishing his role as an influential practitioner and professor in the field of tax law over the past several decades, Tucker has taken an active interest in the success and careers of young lawyers. He is a prodigious mentor of his students, Michigan Law alumni, associates at his firm, and others who cross his path.

A member of the District of Columbia Bar Division of Taxation, Tucker served on the DC Tax Revision Commission in 2014, the recommendations of which resulted in significant changes in personal and business income and other taxes in Washington, DC

Tucker is an accomplished scholar and educator who has written more than 60 articles along with a treatise, “Tax Planning for Real Estate Transactions,” first published in 1989. With the help of others, he produced semiannual supplements to the treatise through 2019. He has taught at George Washington University Law School and Georgetown University Law Center and has been an adjunct professor at Michigan Law since 2010. He also serves as an officer and board member of Washington Performing Arts and the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes.

Tucker with West and two others
Michigan Law’s 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Stefan “Stef” Tucker, ’63, at a ceremony in Washington, DC, in June. Pictured from left are Dean Mark West, Tucker, Michael Flyer, ’62, and Gary Rappaport.

A grateful alumnus who pays it forward

While reflecting on his time at Michigan Law, Tucker explained that he was able to attend both business school and law school because of the scholarships the University afforded him. As a way to say thank you, in 1997, he and Marilyn established the Stef and Marilyn Tucker Scholarship Fund, an endowed fund to benefit Michigan Law students. “The bottom line is, what [those scholarships] did for me could never be duplicated,” Tucker said.

Gary Rappaport, Tucker’s longtime client and friend, further emphasized Tucker’s commitment to the school and giving back. “While Stef has always appreciated the education he received from the University of Michigan, he has never forgotten that without the financial help, he would never have been able to become a lawyer, a profession he has loved all his life,” said Rappaport. 

Now, as the 2023 recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, Tucker takes his place among other leaders of the legal profession.

“It is a privilege to honor this extraordinary man, teacher, lawyer, and alumnus of the University of Michigan Law School,” said Dean West in his closing statements. “Stef, thank you. We’re so proud you are one of ours.”