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Our Attorneys

Our Attorneys are outstanding in their respective areas of practice.

Attorneys




Karen Thompson

Partner – Retired



Education

University of Washington School of Law, graduated 1977
Western Washington University/Fairhaven College, graduated 1973

Bar Admissions

Washington, 1978
United States District Court
Western District of Washington, 1978

Awards

Super Lawyers
Karen M. Thompson

Karen Thompson

Partner – Retired

Karen Marie Thompson is a 1977 graduate of the University of Washington School of Law. She has been in private practice since 1980 and is a partner in the law firm of Thompson & Howle. Throughout her practice she has emphasized elder law and disability law. This includes representing individuals and professionals in all aspects of complex guardianships, probates, long-term care planning, estate planning, drafting and representing Trustees and beneficiaries of special needs trusts. She mediates contested guardianship, trust and probate matters.

She has been designated a top lawyer in Seattle by the publication Seattle magazine for the past several years based upon a peer survey. She is a frequent speaker at legal seminars, law school classes and conferences on various aspects of guardianships, ethical issues in elder law and special needs trusts. She is a member of the Washington Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Washington State Bar Association Elder Law Section and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Karen is married; she and her husband have two young adult children. She is an avid soccer fan and she and her husband enjoy the theater, opera and boating.



Suzanne C. Howle

Partner – Retired



Practice Areas

Guardianship
Probate
Special Needs Trusts
Litigation
Vulnerable Adult Protection
Mediation

Education

Texas Tech University School of Law, graduated 1980
University of Texas, Austin, graduated 1971

Bar Admissions

Washington, 1982
Texas, 1980

Awards

Super Lawyers  Suzanne C. Howle
Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for:
Elder Law, Seattle (2017)
Litigation – Trusts and Estates, Seattle (2016)

Suzanne C. Howle

Partner – Retired

Suzanne C. Howle was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980 and the Washington Bar in 1982. Since 1984, Suzanne Howle’s practice has emphasized guardianship, probate, estate planning, and representation of fiduciaries in various roles. She is the managing partner of the firm.

Suzanne Howle is widely recognized as one of the top lawyers in Washington in her practice areas. The publication WASHINGTON LAW AND POLITICS named her a “Super Lawyer” in every year from 2003 through 2019. She has also been listed as one of the “Top Lawyers” published by SEATTLE MAGAZINE. When SEATTLE BUSINESS MONTHLY polled 5000 attorneys in the Puget Sound area, Suzanne Howle was chosen as a “Top Lawyer” by her peers. She was named Best Lawyers® 2016 Trusts and Estates Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” and Best Lawyers® 2017 Elder Law “Lawyer of the Year” for Seattle.

In addition to representing individual clients, Suzanne Howle has authored and co-authored several widely-used practice manuals for lawyers and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars. She co-authored the guardianship section of the King County Probate and Guardianship Manual, published in 1995, and edited updated chapters of the King County Probate Policy & Procedures manual in 2002, 2009 and 2011. She has been lead co-author and editor of “Chapter 10: Probate and Guardianship” of the Washington Lawyers Practice Manual for many years.



Carol Vaughn

Partner



Practice Areas

Guardianship
Probate
Litigation
Vulnerable Adult Protection
Mediation

Education

Harvard School of Law, graduated 1986
Smith College, graduated 1983

Bar Admissions

Washington, 1986
United States District Court
Western District of Washington, 1992
United States District Court
Eastern District of Washington, 2004
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2002

Awards

Super Lawyers Carol S. Vaughn
Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for: Litigation – Trusts and Estates, Seattle (2019)

Carol Vaughn

Partner

Carol Vaughn has a litigation practice (trial and appellate) focusing on trust, probate, guardianship and vulnerable adult protection cases. She is a graduate of Smith College (1983; magna cum laude) and Harvard Law School (1986). Ms. Vaughn was a legal aid attorney with Evergreen Legal Services and Northwest Justice Project before joining Thompson & Howle. In 2003, she was awarded a Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship from Harvard Law School. She previously served on and chaired the WSBA Amicus Brief Committee. Her reported appellate decisions include: Estate of Kessler, 95 Wn. App. 358 (1999) (will contest upholding validity of will); In re Custody of Halls, 126 Wn. App. 599 (2005) (contempt); Estate of Haviland (Haviland I), 162 Wn. App. 548 (2011) (will contest invalidating will for undue influence); and Estate of Haviland (Haviland II), 177 Wn.2d 68 (2013) (interpreting slayer statute amendments relating to financial exploitation of vulnerable adults).

She was named to the Washington Super Lawyers list from 2014 through 2019, as well as the Top 100 Lawyers in Washington State and the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Washington State. In 2019, she was named Best Lawyers® 2019 Probate and Trust Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in Seattle.



Florence K. Deleranko



Practice Areas

Guardianship
Probate
Real Estate

Education

University of Nevada, Reno, graduated 1980
Gonzaga University, graduated 1984

Bar Admissions

Idaho, 1987
Washington, 1985

Florence K. Deleranko

Florence K. Deleranko has been in private practice since 1988. Her practice includes guardianships, trusts, estates, probate and real estate law. She also serves as a probate Guardian ad Litem. Florence graduated cum laude from Gonzaga University in 1984 and was a law clerk to the Honorable Alan A. McDonald, (United States District Court Eastern District of Washington) from 1985-1987.

She is also a member of the Idaho State Bar. She has spoken at legal seminars on the areas of her practice; guardianship, real estate and probate. She and her husband are parents of a lovely and active daughter.

Paralegals




Lana Armstrong

Paralegal


Lana Armstrong

Paralegal

Lana Armstrong joined Thompson & Howle in 2006. She has a degree from Beloit College majoring in Economics & Management with a minor in Journalism. Her duties include drafting routine correspondence, pleadings and notices, maintaining the guardianship report calendar, organizing case files, scheduling hearing dates, and arranging for service and filing of documents.



Christine James

Paralegal


Christine James

Paralegal

Christine James joined Thompson Howle Vaughn in 2008. She has worked in the areas of estate planning and probate since receiving her paralegal degree from Highline Community College in 2004. In 2012, Ms. James graduated with high honors from Central Washington University with a BA in Law and Justice. Her current duties include assisting the firm’s litigation attorneys, drafting routine correspondence, pleadings and notices, maintaining litigation files, and arranging for service of filings and documents.



April Magruder

Paralegal


April Magruder

Paralegal

April Magruder is the newest member of Thompson Howle Vaughn. She grew up in Texas and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of North Texas in 2011. April has worked as a paralegal and legal assistant in several areas of law including loss mitigation, civil litigation, and estate planning. Her duties include drafting correspondence and pleadings, filing documents with the court, maintaining the firm’s hard files, and otherwise assisting the attorneys as needed. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, backpacking and camping with her husband, Italian cooking, and watercolor painting.