Meet Your Experienced Team
Palace Law is built on the idea that every client deserves a competent team of legal professionals to handle all aspects of their case. At Palace Law, every client is assigned a team to work on each case. Our teams are comprised of attorneys and legal professionals. Please take a moment to learn about the attorneys at Palace Law and the legal professionals that make up our legal teams.
- Stefanie Carlton, Paralegal
- Debbie Crowl, Claims Negotiator
- Tia Curry, Paralegal
- Sandra Garrison, Paralegal
- Cheryl Gorder, Paralegal
- Julie Jessup, Office Assistant and Check Liaison
- Anjuli Messmer, Litigation Paralegal
- Tanya Mitchell, Litigation Paralegal
- Kristi Richardson, Paralegal
- Brian Smalley, Paralegal
- Robert Tran, Paralegal
- Jonathan Tretheway, Paralegal
- Kimberly Vorheis, Claims Negotiator
Stefanie Carlton enjoys helping people navigate the legal process, allowing them to focus on what matters most: their health. She has been passionate about injury claims after she was seriously injured over 25 years ago. She has extensive experience in industrial injury cases and prides herself on her excellent communication.
In 2018, after nineteen years in the insurance industry, Stefanie chose to pursue her passion in the legal field. In 2019, she completed the Paralegal Preferred Pro-Certification, in addition to her previous education which includes Masters in Business Management, Bachelors in Business Management, Associate in Insurance Services, Workers’ Compensation Claims Administration and several other claims/insurance related certifications. As a Workers’ Compensation Paralegal, she is dedicated to her clients and strives to be the best advocate for the injured. Stefanie enjoys the Palace Law team environment and being part of the decades of history at Palace Law obtaining the best outcome for their clients.
Stefanie has many interests, but focuses her love on her husband, son, and her pack of three dogs. When Washington weather allows, Stefanie and her husband enjoy boating on Puget Sound.
Debbie Crowl enjoys helping people through difficult times in their lives. She is a natural. She finds satisfaction in forming relationships and shares in the joys that come with getting people everything they deserve. For over 34 years, Debbie has changed lives, handling a wide range of duties from litigation, management, to her current role as a claim’s handler and negotiator. Debbie loves the quick thinking that is required of negotiation and works hard on behalf of everyone who comes to Palace Law to get them everything they deserve. Debbie works until she gets it all. It’s a point of pride for her and the right thing to do.
Many years ago, Debbie received her legal education from Highline Community College, earning two Associate of Applied Science degrees while simultaneously completing the legal secretary program and the paralegal program. Then she rolled up her sleeves to go to work. She has never stopped.
Debbie grew up on a farm where she learned to drive a tractor from a young age, care for calves, chickens, and a horse. She loves horses and spends as much time as she can with her daughter and her horse competing in various horse competitions. Debbie also has a bonus daughter and 5 grandchildren that she loves to spend time with.
Tia Curry was born and raised in Tacoma, WA, and has lived in Tacoma for over 30 years. After graduating high school, Tia attended Tacoma Community College while working in the medical industry. After working in the medical field for a number of years and seeing the difficulty some of those patients were having navigating the legal aspects of their injuries, Tia decided to pursue a career in the personal injury legal field. Tia is dedicated to helping injured individuals through this difficult time and enjoys the rewards of making a positive difference in their lives.
When Tia is not at work, her number one passion is her son, who is very active in a variety of sports. Tia loves cheering for him, and his teams and attending the various games. She is an avid Seattle Seahawks supporter and loves spending time with family and friends.
Tia also enjoys the outdoors (gardening, camping, and hiking), acrylic painting, cooking, Netflix and reading.
Sandra Garrison was born in Montana, but soon after, her family moved to Aberdeen, Washington, where she lived until she moved to the Seattle area in the early 80s. Sandra has always been very creative and started her career sewing custom bridal gowns, eventually transitioning into retail sales of wedding dresses.
After the birth of her son, she re-evaluated what she wanted out of a career and decided it was time for a change. Sandra started working for a major insurance company as a customer service representative. Working for the insurance companies, she realized it was hard to make an impact and often felt like she was fighting an uphill battle. In 1994, Sandra enrolled in Lake Washington Technical College and obtained her Legal Secretary Certificate.
Sandra has been a workers’ compensation paralegal for over 20 years and provides endless knowledge to Palace Law. She is dedicated to customer service and has spent her career specializing in claimant’s workers’ compensation cases. Sandra works diligently to ensure that her clients receive all the benefits that they are entitled to from the Department of Labor and Industries. She successfully handles all issues in claims such as; back time loss, employability issues, vocational meetings, Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals mediation conferences and resolution of claims with appropriate permanent partial disability awards. Her favorite part of her job is being of service to our clients, and she loves the relationships she is able to build through helping people.
Although Sandra’s son is now grown, she was a single mother who understands the challenges of living off one income and the necessity of perseverance. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family and friends. But of course, she still loves to get her creative juices flowing with sewing, crafts, and scrapbooking.
Cheryl Gorder is a workers’ compensation paralegal at Palace Law. She is a member of the Washington State Association for Justice and also belongs to the Washington State Paralegal Association.
Cheryl is the Palace Law “black box” that gives our trial team the winning edge. There is no substitute for her decades of trial support. She is dedicated to, and passionate about, the work she does on behalf of client’s cases and the legal process itself. She enjoys the client contact and the day to day interaction with the attorneys and staff that she is working for and with, as well interaction with opposing counsel, court staff, various medical administrators, and physicians, as well as experts, brought in to assist in cases.
Outside of work, Cheryl is a grandmother to 3 and wants her grandchildren to grow up with two very important qualities: a sense of adventure and a commitment to the well-being of others.
Julie Jessup has worked for Palace Law for over 11 years as an office assistant and Check Liaison. She loves working with numbers, for the greater good and helping injured people. She is a true Tacoma native born and raised. Her previous experience working at The Pierce County District Court led her to Palace Law, where she felt she was better able to serve deserving people.
Julie is a huge fan of Jimmy Buffet and all things Trop Rock. She loves to travel, especially to the Florida Keys and to Disneyland. You will find Julie spending most of her free time with her two kids and her grand fur-baby named Suki that she loves to spoil rotten.
Anjuli received her legal education from the Paralegal Certification Program at Highline Community College, Des Moines, Washington. She has been working in civil litigation since June 2001. Anjuli works closely with clients, addressing client needs, issues and concerns while ensuring compliance with the rules of civil litigation. Her duties include coordinating and securing service of process, locating and interviewing fact witnesses, reviewing and analyzing documentary evidence, researching and compiling factual and legal case information, creating medical chronologies and reports, drafting legal documents and mediation briefing, producing trial notebooks and organizing trial exhibits. She is committed to effective and timely management of litigated cases from initial filing, through the discovery phase and into trial and post-trial proceedings.
Tanya Mitchell is a worker’s compensation litigation paralegal at Palace Law. She is the right-hand supporting attorneys in appeals and other litigation. Tanya is a fierce defender and strong advocate for the injured people she works for. She is the “momma bear” for the many injured people whose cases she helps manage. She is the indispensable force that runs the Palace Law litigation schedule and supports our attorneys in trial. With over a decade of service to injured workers, Tanya represents Palace Law’s Core Value of “Relentless, Persistent and Self-Motivated.”
Tanya was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington and graduated from Pierce College. Tanya and her husband raised two sons in Tacoma and now have the pleasure of spending time with their grandson.
Tanya loves to read, do puzzles, and has a love for all animals. She has recently picked up the hobby of painting.
Kristi Richardson became passionate about helping injured workers early on in her career when she spent 15 years working in the office of an orthopedic surgeon. It was during these years that Kristi got a broad understanding of the medical field and began to see the hoops the workers’ compensation patients had to jump through just to see a doctor, get necessary care and to get their bills paid.
In 1999, Kristi made the decision to leave the medical field and join a law firm where she could have a greater impact on injured workers’ lives. Her instincts were right and the transition into law as a workers’ compensation paralegal was seamless and a perfect fit.
Kristi has now been a paralegal for over 20 years, almost exclusively advocating for injured workers. She loves her legal role as an advocate for injured workers. She say, “I feel good about working hard for the injured. There is a real satisfaction watching their lives return to normal, their injuries heal and then seeing them return to work in better paying jobs. I sleep better at night knowing that we make lives better.”
At Palace Law, Kristi manages all aspects of workers’ compensation cases. She participates in cases at all levels including at the Department of Labor and Industries, before Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, and in the Superior Court. She has worked on and been an integral part of cases that have settled in excess of six figures.
Kristi is well-respected by the claims managers at the Department of Labor and Industries as well as those who work for self-insured companies. She works closely with the medical profession because of her years of working in the medical field and because of her understanding of both medicine and law.
Outside of work, Kristi and her husband have three children and two dogs. She keeps busy as the PTA president and has picked up the hobby of painting as a great way to relax.
Brian Smalley was drawn to workers’ compensation because he believes our workers are the greatest asset of the State of Washington. They pay into the workers’ compensation insurance system with every hour worked, so he knows the full measure of the benefits- bought and paid for by the worker- should be available when they are injured on the job. He works hard to ensure injured workers obtains all the benefits to which they are entitled.
Brian has a history in big city commercial real estate finance, but when he moved back to Chehalis to care for a family member in 2010, he made a career change that ended up being far more fulfilling. His well-developed negotiation and organizational skills allow him to stay on top of his client’s claims and to effectively manage the increasingly complex nature of claims with the Department of Labor and Industries. He manages State and self-insured claims from beginning to end.
Brian Smalley graduated from high school in Chehalis, WA, and attended Washington State University where he graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance. While at the university, he was elected to Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society.
Brian is an avid touring cyclist and traveler. He has traveled the world by bicycle, logging over 25,000 miles through 13 countries on his trusty touring bike. His three children are grown and out of the house so he fills his time giving back to his community as much as possible. He also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading.
Robert Tran was born in Vietnam but has lived in Tacoma since 1975. He was drawn to his career as a personal injury paralegal over 32 years ago when he noticed the great need for someone that could help the people in his community get the justice they deserve following traumatic events like car accidents and injuries due to someone else’s negligence. Robert is fluent in English and Vietnamese and loves spending time in the community, building lasting relationships with the people he is fortunate enough to help.
Robert is passionate about getting injured people the medical treatment they need and providing closure, in turn, helping them move forward with their lives. He treats everyone he works with like family, meeting with them to answer questions and walking them through the process from case start to finish.
Robert enjoys serving the community that has given him so much. He is the Vice-President of the Vietnamese Community of Tacoma/Pierce County and the President of the Vietnamese Senior Association of Tacoma/Pierce County. Robert is married with four children. In his spare time you can find him in the Lincoln District of Tacoma getting some of the best Vietnamese food in Washington.
Jonathan is a paralegal in the personal injury department of Palace Law with a focus on litigation. In 2006, after several years in the building materials industry, he chose to pursue a career in the legal field. In 2008, after graduating from Tacoma Community College with an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies (with honors), he began his career fighting for plaintiffs in matters concerning workplace discrimination, civil rights, and personal injury.
Jonathan has diverse skills and extensive experience in the litigation process and is the perfect team member to help guide our clients through the challenges of taking a case to court. He can explain the often-difficult litigation process in a down to earth way helping to put our clients at ease.
When Jonathan is not hard at work for his clients, he enjoys playing guitar, having a beer at newly discovered Northwest craft brewery, and hiking in the PNW trails with his wife, Kelsey, and their little dog Bailey.
Jonathan and Kelsey met in December 2016 at Doyle’s Pub in Tacoma watching the Seattle Sounders win the MLS cup. They are both avid soccer fans and Sounders FC season ticket holders.
Kimberly Vorheis has worked in the legal profession for over 20 years. Although she started as a legal assistant, she quickly gained interest in the claims process and found herself managing personal injury claims from start to finish. Kim finds great satisfaction in getting injured people compensated, getting their bills paid, and making sure they aren’t missing out on any benefits or payments insurance companies are withholding from them. Kim makes a promise to everyone she works with that she under her watch she will protect you and take away the unnecessary stress. Kim is known as a tough negotiator and is well known by those who have tried to stand up against her.
Since 2007, Kim has been managing a caseload from the beginning through settlement. She drafts and prepares settlement demands and then negotiates settlements with claims adjusters. Kim prides herself on her communication skills and loves to give people a better understanding of how the claims process works.
When Kim isn’t working, you can catch her and her husband on the hunt for the best slice of pizza in town. They have two dogs that they love to spoil, and they spend as much time as they can with their family. She has also binge watched “The Office” too many times to count.