For Immediate Release

Former partner at Holmberg Galbraith launches new criminal defense practice

Ithaca, N.Y. January 1, 2016 -- Luke Z. Fenchel, former partner at Holmberg Galbraith, LLP, is proud to announce the opening of a new law office at 200 East Buffalo Street, and a practice with a strategic focus on legal problem-solving, crisis management, and criminal defense.  

The law firm’s offices are conveniently located in the Community Bank Building in downtown Ithaca’s Dewitt Historical District, just one block from the Commons. (200 East Buffalo Street is at the southeast corner of North Tioga Street and East Buffalo Street, across from Ithaca Town Court (the old post office) and the Tompkins County Criminal and Family Courthouse.)

Fenchel, who managed the criminal defense practice while at Holmberg Galbraith (formerly Holmberg, Galbraith, Van Houten & Miller), left the firm in December 2015 to form his own legal practice devoted exclusively to criminal defense. He now serves a diverse clientele of professionals, families of college students, and other Ithacans, using experience, knowledge, education, creativity, and technology to provide them with the most effective and efficient defense.

In the last five years, Fenchel was the lead attorney on hundreds of criminal cases. He cut his teeth on defending clients charged with drinking and driving related offenses (misdemeanor and felony driving while intoxicated—DWI—as well as misdemeanor driving while ability impaired by drugs—DWAI—crimes), and he expanded to provide legal defenses to incidents on college campuses, at the workplace, and among intimate partners.

Fenchel practices throughout upstate New York, and has built respected and respectful relationships with the prosecutors, judges, court clerks, probation officers, and law-enforcement officials who form the legal landscape in upstate New York. He has defended friends and family members of judges, clerks, sheriff deputies, probation and police officers, as well as other governmental employees.

A familiar face in Ithaca City and Ithaca Town Court, Fenchel also regularly appears in the town courts of Dryden and Lansing, as well as those of Caroline, Danby, Enfield, Groton, Newfield, and Ulysses, and the Village Courts of Cayuga Heights and Freeville. 

Fenchel has successfully defended misdemeanor and felony matters in the neighboring counties of Cortland, Chemung, Seneca, Cayuga, Schuyler, and Tioga Counties. And his practice includes violations of conditional discharge and probation, as well as litigation involving the removal of ignition interlock devices. 

He regularly represents college and university students charged with on-campus violations at Ithaca College, where he has been an adjunct lecturer in Legal Studies since 2011, as well as at Cornell University, Tompkins Cortland Community College, and other schools in the region. He has served as an on-campus counselor and advocate in cases in which charges were dismissed at the Ithaca College Conduct Review Board, has worked on cases before the University Hearing Board at Cornell University, as well as successfully negotiated medical and non-disciplinary withdrawals from both campuses. 

With a practice focused on legal problem solving, crisis management, and complex criminal litigation, Fenchel aims to provide comprehensive legal advice as well as compassionate and relentless advocacy to obtain the best possible outcome for each case accepted—whether it be dismissal, reduction, or seal. 

Before practicing in Ithaca, Fenchel clerked with Lansner & Kubitschek, a small New York City firm concentrating on civil rights litigation that successfully sued the Administration for Children’s Services on behalf of victims of domestic violence (called a “do-good private firm” by The American Lawyer). Since developing his practice in the Finger Lakes region, he has returned to New York City to represent Tompkins County residents in Manhattan Criminal Court, and has advocated on behalf of individuals and family in Federal District Court in New York.

Fenchel has been recognized by the Ithaca Journal in the 2015 Reader’s Choice Awards, and in the Ithaca Times in 2016 as "Best Attorney," and in 2014 as First Runner-Up for Attorney in the annual “Best of Ithaca” awards.

He received an undergraduate degree from Harvard College, where he graduated with High Honors, and received his law degree from Cornell Law School. Fenchel lives in Ithaca, New York, with his fiancée - an educator in Lansing School District - four cats, and a beagle. 



  • A.B., High Honors, Harvard College, 1999
  • J.D., Cornell Law School, 2005


  • Admitted to the Bar: New York State, U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York


  • Tompkins County Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National College for DUI Defense 

Related Experience

  • Lecturer, Legal Studies, Ithaca College, 2011-present


  • Ithaca Times, "Best of Ithaca", Best Attorney, 2016
  • Ithaca Journal, "Reader's Choice Award", Best Law Firm, 2015
  • Ithaca Times, "Best of Ithaca", First Runner-Up, Best Attorney, 2014