Gary Lemel was destined from an early age to make his living in public speaking. Starting in middle school, throughout high school and continuing into college at Vanderbilt University and law school at Wake Forest University, he was active in speech, debate, and mock trial programs. He served as co-captain of the Intercollegiate Debate Team at Vanderbilt and upon graduating was awarded the Founder’s Medal for Excellence in Oratory. This medal, voted on by the faculty of the Communications Department, recognizes one student from each class for outstanding achievement in public communication and speech.
Upon graduating the Wake Forest School of Law in 1996, Gary was fortunate enough to begin his career as an associate in a law office practicing extensively in the area of criminal defense in York County. While many of his law school classmates had yet to leave the research library, he had already begun to try cases at both the magistrate and General Sessions levels. He has served the citizens of York County and surrounding areas with pride since that time.
Over the course of his career, Gary has worked as a private attorney, as City Solicitor for Rock Hill, and as a Public Defender. His cases have ranged in scope from basic traffic violations to death penalty litigation. While with the York County Public Defender office, he served as Senior Assistant Public Defender, handling both administrative and training duties, as well as his normal caseload. While there he became known for handling complex and difficult cases involving violent crimes, particularly those involving forensic and medical evidence. His current practice spans multiple counties and focuses extensively on Driving Under the Influence (a subject that he has lectured on at state conferences), drug charges of all levels, and other high-level felonies. Gary’s work is driven by a desire to ensure that the American ideals of the right to a fair trial are upheld for all people.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Gary remains involved in numerous volunteer and Bar Association committees. He served for eight years as Chairman of the York County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs and two years as vice president of the Public Defender Association. He was a board member of the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, serving as Circuit representative for York and Union counties and as President. He also serves as a member of the Bar’s Judicial Qualifications Committee and Public Defender Standards Committee. He is a Commissioner with the South Carolina Commission on Disabilities and Special Needs.
Recently, Gary was named a Lawyer of the Year by the S.C. Bar’s Law-Related Education Division for his volunteer work coaching students in the mock trial programs at Fort Mill Middle School and Nation Ford High School. Both schools have gone on to win regional and state titles.