Topic: Elisabeth Marjorie Urquhart, MBE - 1917-1996

Topic type:

Pioneer Woman Lawyer, 1939-1981

Miss Urquhart was one of the earliest women to become a Lawyer in NZ, she and her father George both worked as Lawyers in Rotorua. Miss Urquhart was solicitor to my great aunt Constance Morrell and my parents Lewis & Connie Leigh. I remember her being a stately genteel lady, still in her own practice in the 1970s when we moved back to Rotorua.

Alison M. Leigh.

Excerpt from Rotorua Morning Post, 25 November 1944, P2.

"Miss E. M. Urquhart L.L.B., who has for many years resided in Rotorua, has commenced practice on her own account as a solicitor locally. Miss Urquhart who is well known in Rotorua, is a member of the High School Board (Government Nominee), and is Secretary of the Women's Club. She is and ex-pupil of the Rotorua High School [now ...Rotorua Boys High School]  and took her Law degree at Auckland University. ... Miss Urquhart is the only woman solicitor practising in the Hamilton district"  She continued on her own until 1961 when she took on a partner.

Her father, the late Mr George Urquhart established one of the pioneer law firms in Rotorua in 1904, he passed away in March 1944. Miss Urquhart worked for her father for 4 years before becoming the first woman to open up her own practice.

Miss Urquhart was elected to the Borough Council in 1962 and was elected Deputy Mayor in 24/10/1965, she continued on in Council until 1971. She was Rotorua's longest serving solicitor retired from her business in May 1980. She was awarded an MBE, for services to the Law and Community, in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 13 June 1981.

For more information about Miss Urquhart you can read the biographical information in the Daily Post published 30 May 1980. The newspaper is available at the Rotorua District Library on the 2nd Floor.

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Elisabeth Marjorie Urquhart, MBE - 1917-1996

First Names:Elisabeth Marjorie
Last Name:Urquhart, MBE
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