Why She’s Top 40: She unites women in law and tackles crucial cases in Edmonton, such as the LRT extension and the airport redevelopment.
Guilty Pleasure: “Bad pop music. Anything I can dance to; I love to dance. I’ll make my husband put it on and just dance around the house.”
Riding around on her orange Townie bicycle, wearing open-toed high heel shoes, Christine DeWitt triumphs over the typical lawyer stereotype in several ways.
She spent her summer holidays in sketch comedy workshops and classes at the Second City improv centre in Chicago. And her knack for improv came by surprise, much like her law career.
“I went to law school on a whim, my undergraduate was in education,” says DeWitt, who comes from a French background. She studied law at the Universite de Moncton and was called to the bar in 2009.
DeWitt articled for a big law firm in Calgary for a couple of years but was unable to find her footing. So, she returned to Edmonton to be with her now-husband, and she was offered a job with Alberta Education.
“I got to work on replacing a legislative dinosaur,” says DeWitt, referring to the old School Act. Passed in December 2012, the Education Act came in its place – though it will be implemented next year – and DeWitt made her first dent in Alberta legislature.
Now at Reynolds Mirth Richards & Farmer LLP, she works on diverse subject matters, including land expropriation. Negotiating for businesses and landowners along the LRT extension line, she says: “No matter what side you’re advocating for, the hope is it leads to a better situation.”
Last year, DeWitt and about 20 other female lawyers organized a Women’s Legal Forum. They invited female professionals of all ages from across the province. “I think it’s important for women in my profession to unite because we all face similar struggles.
“Being a lawyer is never boring,” says DeWitt, who sometimes labours on legislative reform matters that can’t be disclosed due to their nature.
Leading an exciting life outside the office as well, DeWitt recently made the cast at Rapid Fire Theatre and says the experience has made her a better lawyer. “I’m better able to react on my feet, pull from all my knowledge and experience to decide what my next step should be.”