Susan L. Vaage (Graham)

Date of Death

Susan L. Vaage (Graham), born in Pasadena and raised in Temple City until moving to La Cañada in 1975, passed away at home on October 6, 2023, following five years of treatment at UCSF for Triple Negative Breast Cancer.
She was a graduate of UC Irvine (1975) and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (1978), and in 1982, she married her husband, Arnold Graham. Together, they raised two children, Justin and Laurell, who went to La Cañada public schools, and then each to graduate school.
After first practicing law with two other firms, in 1992 Susan merged her existing law practice with that of her husband’s, and together they founded their own law firm, Graham • Vaage LLP, which they continued in business together for nearly 30 years until her illness.
She specialized in representing financial institutions and business entities in state, federal and bankruptcy courts. She also had substantial jury and non-jury experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of commercial and bankruptcy cases in areas of enforcement of guarantees, commercial loans, secured transactions, real property, defense and consumer law. She also assisted financial institution clients regarding significant commercial loan workouts, analysis of litigation risks on problem loans, and successfully defended clients against a wide variety of claims including fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, bad faith, unfair business practices, unconscionability, RICO violations, personal injury and premises liability, Americans with Disabilities Act matters, and wrongful termination.
She was a regular lecturer to industry and local and state Bar groups on topics related to her expertise, and frequently addressed in-house groups, including the California Bankers Association and the National Business Institute.
Susan had an “AV” rating, and was a member of the State Bar of California (former member, Debtor/Creditor Relations and Bankruptcy Committee of the Business Law Section), Financial Lawyers Conference, Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum, Los Angeles County Bar Association (Member, Treasurer 2012-2013, Executive Committee of the Remedies Section), Commercial Law League, Los Angeles Mexican American Bar Association, Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, and various other professional associations. She was also an author of the California Practice Guide “California Debt Collection and Enforcement of Judgments,” Matthew Bender 2006, updates 2007 through 2016, as well as a contributing author to California Forms of Jury Instruction, Ch. 42A, Matthew Bender Fraudulent Transfer Instructions (Matthew Bender), and regularly sat as a judge pro tempore on various court matters.
She is survived by her husband, Arnold; her children, Justin (Jennifer); Laurell (Richard) and their children, Jacob and Lilly; her stepson Derek (Lisa) and their children, Brian, Michael, Nathalie and Cody; her mother, Edith; and her brother, Bob (Susan) and their children, Devin (Jordan) and Olivia.
A Celebration of Life is being held in her memory in Pasadena on December 3rd.