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Vicky Brunette DTLA (2)

The Defense Trial Lawyers Association of Western New York (DTLA-WNY) has chosen Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s Deputy General Counsel Vicky-Marie J. Brunette for their highest honor, the Robert M. Kiebala Memorial Award as the 2019 Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year.  This prestigious award is presented to the attorney who best exemplifies the Association’s mission of promoting the highest standard of trial conduct through member education and advocating the defense position in civil cases with the judiciary and where appropriate in the New York State legislature. 

Vicky has defended the NFTA in personal injury litigation for over 25 years.  She is known for her measured and thorough approach to trial practice and holds a stellar record of favorable defense/no-cause verdicts for jury trials.  Her trial successes include defending wrongful death actions and averting multiple million dollar damage awards.

Anyone that has had the pleasure of teaming up with Vicky will tell you she is of superior moral character and deserves the highest respect for her work ethic.  Vicky has been recognized with the Business First Women of Influence Award, 2014, and the Defense Research Institute Exceptional Performance Citation, 2015.

In addition to serving as a Director, Nominations Committee Chair, and past president of the DTLA-WNY, she is a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Mary's School for the Deaf.  She is also a board member for the Delaware Women's Golf Club and formerly served on the Parkside Community Association Board.  

Vicky holds a Juris Doctorate from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and a Bachelor's of Arts in English from St. John Fisher College of Rochester, N.Y.   She is also a proud graduate of Leadership Buffalo, 2008.

About her award, Vicky said, "I have worked with and learned from some exceptional attorneys over the past 25 years. Being recognized by my peers in this manner is unexpected and truly humbling.”   

Vicky is such a great sport, so we asked her a few off-the-cuff questions.  Her responses are below:  

  • Something many people may not know about you - I am a golfer and have had not one, but TWO, holes-in-one!  
  • One item on your bucket list - I would love to write and publish a novel.
  • An influential period within your career - Squaring off against Johnnie Cochran when I was a 28 year old attorney was a once in a lifetime experience that I did not fully appreciate at the time. Looking back, going toe to toe with a lawyer who was a celebrity made me realize I was fully capable of holding my own in the courtroom.
  • One of the most "interesting" things that happened while defending a case - A pro se plaintiff insisted on duck taping his own feet together and taping his mouth shut, while lying on the floor on a mattress during his testimony. He removed the duck tape for each and every question.
  • As such an accomplished professional, what advice would you give your younger self - Take more chances. Life is short.

The DTLA-WNY awards ceremony will be held during the annual meeting on Wednesday, December 11, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 p.m. at The Mansion on Delaware.  

Please join in congratulating Vicky on this extraordinary recognition. 


This article is part of our Above & Beyond feature on Elements. If you know of an employee that deserves a recognition for a job well done, please email us at