The phylogenetic relationships among deuterostome animals have been debated for many years, and a diversity of hypotheses have been proposed based on both morphological and molecular data. Here we have assembled sequences of 217 nuclear-encoded proteins to address specific questions concerning their relationships and times of origin. We recovered significant support for urochordates as the closest relative of vertebrates with an analysis of 59 proteins (17,400 amino acids) and suggest that the basal position of urochordates found in previous molecular studies may have been the result of long-branch attraction biases. Our results also support Ambulacraria, the pairing of hemichordates with echinoderms (nine proteins; 2,382 amino acids), and Cyclostomata, the pairing of lampreys with hagfish (25 proteins; 6,895 amino acids). In addition, 325 shared proteins (102,110 amino acids) were obtained from the complete genomes of six vertebrates and a urochordate for phylogenetic analysis and divergence time estimation. An evolutionary timescale was estimated using a local (Bayesian) molecular clock method. We found that most major lineages of deuterostomes arose prior to the Cambrian Explosion of fossils (approximately 520 MYA) and that several lineages had originated before periods of global glaciation in the Precambrian.