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VADA Member Spotlight

Kathryn Bonorchis
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith

This month’s spotlighted VADA member is Kathryn Bonorchis of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP.  Kathryn is with Lewis Brisbois’ Baltimore, Maryland, office, but works from her home in Northern Virginia.  She is a graduate of James Madison University and The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. She currently serves as a member of VADA’s Board of Directors and as Vice-Chair of our Women’s Section.  Kathryn also served as a member of our Annual Meeting Committee in 2020 and 2022.  She is a member of the Committee as well for 2024.

1.         Where were you born?

I was born in Washington, D.C.  We lived in Annandale, Virginia, briefly before moving to Vienna.

2.         Tell us a little about yourself.  Spouse? Children? Pets?

I’m married to David, who immigrated to the U.S. from South Africa when he was 31 years old.  I have never felt more proud to be an American than I did when I attended his ceremony to become a U.S. citizen.  We have two incredible boys, who are 12 and 8. I have a younger sister and no brothers, so raising boys is an adventure!  We also got a puppy last year, named Brownie.  He is spoiled and loved beyond measure.  My two passions in life are reading and photography.  The coolest (and coldest!) place I’ve traveled to for photography is Banff, Canada, in November 2022.  Every location we visited was extraordinary.

3.         What type of law do you practice?

Civil defense litigation, primarily in the areas of toxic torts, personal injury, and construction defect.

4.         How long have you been a member of VADA?

Almost five years.

5.         What have you enjoyed most about your time in VADA?

I love connecting with fellow defense lawyers, many of whom I consider friends, and the Annual Meeting is always a blast (while educational, too)!

6.         What do you like most about practicing law?

I am a huge talker, so I enjoy being in a profession that enables me to communicate all day.  I also enjoy helping and advocating for my clients, and solving problems.  My client may have rear-ended someone going 5 mph, but does it mean the plaintiff needs $1.5 million in future care?  No.  Finally, there is nothing more exhilarating, fulfilling, or exhausting (in the best way!) than a jury trial.

7.         What is your favorite food and drink?

Pizza has been my favorite food since I was a kid.  My favorite drinks are water and red wine.

8.         What is your favorite movie or television quote?

My favorite movies are The Princess Bride, Love Actually, Almost Famous, Steel Magnolias, and both Top Gun movies.  One of my favorite movie quotes: “I would rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” (Shelby, Steel Magnolias)

9.         What is the last movie you saw in a theatre?    

In December 2023, I took my youngest son and his best friend to see Wish. It was cute!

10.       What is at the top of your bucket list?

Going to Greece, New Zealand, and Australia.

11.       What was your undergraduate major?


12.       What was your first job?

I started baby-sitting when I was 11 years old, but my first real job was at Sam Goody (the music store) when I was 16 years old.  I went to the interview in cut-off jean shorts, a t-shirt, and Birkenstock sandals.  In spite of my casual appearance and general cluelessness, I still got the job!

13.       If you were to visit my office, one of the first things you would notice would be … 

Since I work from home, my home office has a lot of photos of my kids, several LEGO sets on display (including the World Map, Hedwig from Harry Potter, and Everyone is Awesome), a dog toy or three, and two American burial flags – one for my dad and the other for my paternal grandpa.

14.       When I am not in the office, I like to …

Read, travel, spend time with my family and friends, and photograph whatever inspires me.

15.       If I wasn’t practicing law, I would be …


16.       What is your favorite travel spot?

Too many to choose from, but I really love NYC and Cape Town, South Africa.

17.       What was the make and model of your first car?

1996 Geo Prism. I managed to pass the driving test and get into a fender bender three weeks later.

18.       What book is currently on your bedside table?

I’m reading House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Mass.

19.       Who is the most famous or interesting person you have ever met?

I haven’t met anyone famous, but the two most interesting people I have ever known are my parents.  My dad was genius-level intelligent and traveled the world, which gave me the “bug” to travel.  He was known for telling stories that you weren’t quite sure were 100% true, but were always entertaining.  After my parents got divorced, my beautiful and amazing mom worked full-time (in an office, with a commute), finished college, then got a master’s degree, founded and ran her own business, AND made a home-cooked meal for us every night.  At age 70, she took up violin for the first time!  My mom is my inspiration for being a full-time working mom and trying to “balance it all.”

20.       What advice would you give to someone who just passed the bar?

You have great potential for success, but you have to work hard and earn it.  Accolades do not come right out the gate.  Ask questions, be proactive, listen to your mentors’ advice, and proofread!  Then, proofread again.

Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys

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N. Chesterfield, VA 23236


Executive Director: Sherma Mather

Director of Meetings: Amy Gilbody

Journal of Civil Litigation Managing Editor: Molly Terry

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