Pine Tree Legal Aid Supporter Explains Why Equal Justice Before the Law is the Most Important Idea in Human History

August 16, 2019

Kevin Hancock is the CEO of Hancock Lumber, a sixth-generation company based in Casco, Maine, and a passionate advocate for access to justice. After graduating from Bowdoin College, Hancock taught and coached basketball at a postgraduate prep school. In 1991, he started working for his family’s lumber business after learning that his father had developed lymphoma. He became president of Hancock Lumber after his father passed away in 1997.

 Hancock developed spasmodic dysphonia, a condition which severely inhibits one’s ability to speak. This led to him to developing a more passive management style in meetings, a change that prompted his employees to initiate discussion and propose ideas more frequently and assertively. In 2012, after Hancock Lumber had stabilized from the 2008 recession, he decided to follow a long-held passion: learning about the history of the American West. He traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to learn more about the culture of the Oglala Sioux people. While on the reservation, he realized the toll that his duties as president had taken on his mental and physical health, prompting him to write and publish his book, Not for Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse.

He transferred his newfound energy to representing for the underprivileged, becoming a strong advocate for access to justice. This past spring, he submitted written testimony in support of LD 214, a bill proposed to increase funding for civil legal aid services in Maine. Governor Mills later signed the bill into law in June 2019. He previously penned an article in the Portland Press Herald in support of continued funding for LSC, highlighting the successes of Pine Tree Legal Assistance to exemplify the important work of LSC’s grantees. He also recently served on the Pine Tree Fund cabinet which raised $1.5 million for the organization.

His business, Hancock Lumber, is a four-time recipient of the Best Places to Work in Maine Award. The company is also a past recipient of the Maine Family Business of the Year Award, the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence, the Maine International Trade Center’s Exporter of the Year Award, and the Pro-Sales National Dealer of the Year Award. He is a recipient of the Ed Muskie Access to Justice Award, the Habitat for Humanity Spirit of Humanity Award, the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award, and Timber Processing magazine’s Person of the Year Award.