Job title: Lawyer and Partner, Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence
Why she’s a 2023 Top 40 Under 40: A partner in Calgary’s biggest all-female defence law firm, she argues tough headline-making cases while promoting legal representation for all.
A partner in Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence firm, the biggest all-female defence law firm in Calgary and one of the premier criminal law boutiques in Alberta, Andrea Urquhart has served as counsel on some of the most high-profile criminal cases of the last decade. “I work with so many talented women barristers,” she says. “We’re fierce advocates.”
Urquhart is the first to tell you that some of her biggest life lessons occurred pre-law school, during her brief stint as a welfare income support worker, with a clientele that included addicts and those involved in sex work. “My eyes were opened to people living that life,” she says. “I’ve always been able to have conversations with people who haven’t lived the same life as me.”
Prior to making the Dean’s List upon graduation from the University of Calgary’s law school, Urquart volunteered with Student Legal Assistance, a non-profit organization whose objective is to provide access to legal assistance for those who would otherwise not qualify. In 2010, she received the Provincial Court Judges Award for her work there.
In recent years, she has gained national prominence for cases such as one in which she argued successfully for a client whose Charter rights were infringed.
She continually strives to educate others on the importance of legal representation for all — something she believes is vital to living in a democracy. “My role is critical in holding the state accountable,” she says. “And I can play a big role in getting people the help they need.”
Though she spends her days in the courtroom, Urquhart is just as proud of her accomplishments as a parent as she is of her work as a tough litigator. “Despite the demands of my work, I’m always there for my kids,” she says.
“My parents, Ian and Theresa Urquhart; my husband David Vonesch; my sister Kali Urquhart; my boys, Benjamin and Oliver; The Hon. Judge Allan Fradsham; Tonii Roulston; my friends, family and coworkers who I can count on for always being in my corner.”