Connolly Shurtz
Criminal Defense Lawyers in Lethbridge
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The Largest Criminal Defense Law Firm in Lethbridge

Connolly Shurtz 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 and Darcy Shurtz are here to help you with support from Lawyer Miranda Hlady and Student-At-Law Rachel Poelzer.

Claudia Connolly

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.

Claudia Connolly
Claudia Connolly
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Lethbridge, AB

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

Darcy Shurtz

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 Shurtz
Darcy Shurtz
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Lethbridge, AB

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

Miranda Hlady

Miranda was likely Canada’s youngest lawyer at the time of her Yukon Territory bar call in 2012. She completed a rotation for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada during her articles and has worked for her entire career almost exclusively in the area of criminal defence. Miranda has advocated for clients at all levels of court in Alberta including the Court of Appeal and has represented a client as Lead Counsel on an Intervenor Application before the Supreme Court of Canada.

Miranda Hlady Lethbridge Lawyer
Miranda Hlady Criminal Defense Lawyer

Miranda is active in her community as a volunteer. She was a 2012 recipient of the Maritime Law Book Award, a 2013 recipient of a Volunteer Excellence Award from Volunteer Lethbridge, a 2014 YWCA Young Woman of Promise, a 2017 recipient of a Leadership Award from the Federation of Asian-Canadian Lawyers, a 2018 recipient of a Native Counselling Services of Alberta Service Award, a 2018 recipient of a Liberty Award from British Columbia Civil Liberties and a 2021 recipient of the Lethbridge Legal Guidance Lawyer of the Year Award.

She currently serves as the Secretary of the Lethbridge Criminal Defence Lawyers’ Association, serves on the National Criminal Lawyers’ Association Accessibility Committee and serves on the Legal Aid Alberta Roster Representation Committee.

Miranda worked for three years as a Paralegal Instructor in Lethbridge, Alberta and currently works as an Assessor for the Law Society of Alberta Capstone Program.

To retain or book a free consultation with Miranda, please call our office at (403) 329-8188, or email Miranda at

Rachel Poelzer (Student-at-Law)

Rachel Poelzer joined Connolly Shurtz 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

Rachel Poelzer Student-At-Law

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