Practicing law is Kathryn Lee Bruns’ profession, yet counsel work offers perspectives which add meaning to her personal interests.
“I have a new appreciation for the things that so many take for granted,” said Bruns, of Faraci Lange.
Physical activity brings her peace and healing: hikes with her husband, playtime with her daughter, yoga practice and meditation. The board of directors member and secretary for Braddock Bay Bird Observatory — an ornithological research, education and conservation nonprofit — also finds solace in nature. “Spring and fall migration seasons are particularly exciting for me,” she said.
Prior trial and appellate court clerkship positions and civil defense litigation enhance her knowledge of federal and New York state practice and procedure, which she draws from when working on cases reviewed in the Western District.
“I learned so much during those years and had some terrific mentors along the way,” she said, adding, “In 2007, I came to Faraci Lange and found my passion.
“My practice consists of both consumer protection class action work and all categories of personal injury litigation. In both areas … I work with clients and their families after unexpected tragedies occurred or they’ve been wronged by predatory consumer practices.”
Bruns represents the interests of 10 million health plan subscribers whose personal and health information were compromised in data breaches within the Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and other Lifetime Healthcare Inc. affiliate networks. In 2015, Excellus alone served roughly 1.6 million Upstate New Yorkers and reported that cyberattacks resulted in unauthorized access to data tied to 7 million individuals.
“The stress of the work I do requires that I be re-centered regularly,” Bruns said. “My (toddler) is the joy of my life. She has taught me the most about being present in the moment: It’s where she lives! Without (my) interests and without the love and support of my husband, I could not do the work I do and stay positive.”
While all families face tragedy, Bruns said, her clients face tragedies brought on by others.
“The law is designed to help (but) often involves a complex landscape requiring specialized knowledge and experience,” she said. “I have found it immensely rewarding to help people adjust to their ‘new normal’ (after having been invited) into their lives and homes, in a very personal and intimate way.”
Attorney/client relationships built on trust and communication provide a platform for explaining how the law offers protection and can help remedy their own situations.
“(Debilitating) injuries affect daily living and life’s enjoyment,” she said. “I am fortunate to be able to seek justice for these families and help them meet their needs through financial accountability.”
Each story is underscored by pain of its own and has the potential to be heartbreaking.
“When my telephone rings, the person on the other end almost always has just suffered a terrible experience,” said Bruns, citing cases involving financial fraud, identify theft, physical injury and death.
“Sometimes, it’s hard not to take the tragedy home (or) allow the unfairness and injustices caused by others to affect my own outlook on life. Still, the balance tips the other way, when I’m able to make a real difference for our clients,” she said. “(I) am constantly humbled by the resiliency of the human spirit.”
In her downtime, Bruns volunteers with Camp DayDreams—an affiliate of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Rochester. The nonprofit aims to develop, challenge and empower urban youth to serve themselves, their families and the community through its Camp & Grow program.
“I have been involved with Camp DayDreams for more than 10 years now,” she explained. “I met John McIntrye (its founder) through mutual friends. His passion for youth and for the underserved in our community was inspiring to me.”
Her involvement has included planning and organizing CDD’s annual spring fundraiser. She and her husband, she said, are continually inspired by those who support the camp’s mission.
The University of Minnesota alumna received her J.D. cum laude from SUNY at Buffalo School of Law and is a member of the American Association for Justice, New York State Bar Association, New York State Trial Lawyers Association, Monroe County Bar Association and Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys.