Connolly & Associates offers a full range of criminal defense services to both private and legal aid clients throughout Lethbridge, Cardston, Taber, Brooks, Medicine Hat, Fort Macleod, and Pincher Creek. Our team of lawyers and traffic agents ensures that our clients receive a full legal defense to a wide range of criminal and quasi-criminal matters. With nearly 50 years of combined defense experience, Claudia R. Connolly, Vincent Guinan, and Darcy Shurtz are here to help you.
Claudia is the sole owner of Connolly and Associates Criminal Defense. Claudia has established herself as a highly-respected and recognized name in Southern Alberta’s legal community through her 27 years of experience practicing criminal defense in Lethbridge, and the surrounding communities.
Over the course of her 29 years in practice, Claudia has represented clients in complex matters in all areas of the criminal law, and uses this wealth of experience to benefit her clients as well as other members of her firm. Presently, Claudia’s practice is largely resolution focused, which means working tirelessly to ensure her clients receive the best possible sentences.
Claudia can be seen advocating for her clients in criminal court on a daily basis. Claudia is committed to providing the highest level of legal assistance to some of the most marginalized groups in our society, and her dedication to this cause was recognized when she received the Legal Aid Alberta Access to Justice Award in 2008. Claudia prides herself on developing excellent relationships with her clientele, and ensuring that she obtains the best outcome possible on both a legal, and a personal level.
Claudia was born and raised in rural Manitoba, and began her post-secondary education at Brandon University. Shortly thereafter, Claudia relocated to Lethbridge, where she finished her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Lethbridge in 1988. Claudia then went on to attend law school at the University of Calgary, completing her LLB in 1991. Claudia was the recipient of multiple Academic Awards throughout her university career, and was able to do so while maintaining employment and raising her two young daughters. Claudia was proud to accept the Queen’s Counsel appointment in March of 2020 and takes this responsibility with great pride.
As a long-time resident of Lethbridge, Claudia remains an active member of the community, and takes a keen interest in participating in and learning from Traditional Indigenous events and ceremonies on the Piikani and Kainai Reservations. Claudia makes annual contributions various to community initiatives, including sponsoring the Kainai Little Chiefs children’s hockey team for the past two years. Claudia also previously served as a member of the Board of Directors for the John Howard Society.
To retain or book a free consultation with Claudia, please call our office at (403) 329-8188, or email Claudia at [email protected]
Since joining Connolly and Associates as a Student-at-law, Vincent has worked tirelessly to establish his professional reputation by acting as an aggressive advocate for his clients. During his 8 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer, Vincent has sharpened his skills as a trial lawyer, and has secured not-guilty verdicts and lenient sentences for countless clients, many of whom who were facing serious and complex criminal charges.
Vincent has successfully defended clients against charges including second-degree murder, sexual assault, break and enter, assault, drug trafficking and possession, and many more. Vincent has also diversified his legal practice by representing clients in quasi-criminal regulatory proceedings arising from legislation such as the Firearms Act, the Species at Risk Act, the Fisheries Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the Customs Act. Vincent’s practice revolves around his ability to effectively assist clients with all manner of charges, and to provide compassionate, client-focused service throughout the process.
Before his admission to the Bar by the Law Society of Alberta, Vincent received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in History from the University of Alberta, and then shortly thereafter, proceeded to complete a Bachelor’s of Commerce Degree at the University of Saskatchewan.
After obtaining these two undergraduate degrees, Vincent was awarded his law degree from the internationally renowned law program at Bond University in Australia. After law school, Vincent returned home to Southern Alberta, and he has since spent his career vigorously advocating for his clients against a broad variety of criminal and regulatory charges.
Vincent’s work as a trial lawyer has resulted in numerous published court decisions recognizing his exemplary advocacy work, and has solidified his status as one of Southern Alberta’s most prominent criminal defense lawyers.
To retain or to book a free consultation with Vincent, please call our office at (403) 329-8188, or email Vincent at [email protected]
Darcy Shurtz was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 2016. He was born and raised in the Lethbridge area and attended Athabasca University before obtaining a law degree in Western Michigan. Darcy was awarded a Juris Doctor (magna cum laude) from Western Michigan University in 2014. Darcy completed his articles with Connolly & Associates where he has subsequently been practicing as an associate lawyer.
Darcy practices in all aspects of criminal defense and works vigorously to defend the rights of his clients. Darcy appears regularly in criminal court in Lethbridge, Taber, Fort Macleod, and Cardston. Impaired driving, assault, property offenses, and drug-related offenses are some of the areas Darcy has significant experience and expertise.
To retain or book a free consultation with Darcy, please call our office at (403) 329-8188, or email Darcy at [email protected]
Rachel Poelzer joined Connolly & Associates in 2021 as a Student-at-law. She earned a Bachelor
of Arts in Criminology (with distinction) at the University of Alberta in 2017, wherein she
successfully completed two immersive field placements in the criminal justice system. Following her undergraduate studies, Rachel was awarded a Juris Doctor (with distinction) from the University of Alberta in 2021. Throughout law school, Rachel tailored her course selection to focus on courses pertaining to criminal law, including Criminal Procedure, Law and Policing, Advanced Criminal Law, Wrongful Convictions, and Advanced Criminal Trial Advocacy.
Additionally, she sought experiential learning opportunities to build practical legal skills such as mock court competitions (known as “moots”). Rachel is eager to advocate for her clients’ interests and ensure that their rights are protected. She was drawn to a career in criminal law because of the profound impact criminal conduct can have on the parties involved as well as the greater community. Rachel has experience on both the prosecution and defense sides of the criminal law process through internships, summer jobs, and volunteer opportunities. Through her articles, Rachel hopes to serve the greater Lethbridge community and build relationships with new clients.
Outside of the Courtroom and office, Rachel spends much of her free time dog-walking, playing hockey, and serving the community with her Rotary club.
To retain or to book a free consultation with Rachel, please call our office at (403) 329-8188, or email Rachel at [email protected]