Paul Hancock focuses his practice on litigation and defense of federal and state government investigations. A primary focus has been the financial services industry, where he has represented the nation’s largest financial institutions as well as other industry members, large and small, facing governmental or private claims. He has provided the views of the industry, on behalf of trade groups, to the Supreme Court and to government agencies considering rules. He has represented other diverse businesses facing governmental legal risks, such as colleges, medical device companies, internet advertising companies, a major newspaper and a national television network. Much of his work has involved claims of violations of civil rights and consumer protection laws. He frequently defends businesses before the U.S. Department of Justice, HUD, the Federal Trade Commission, federal and state banking agencies, and state attorneys general, as well as in federal and state courts. He has defended private claims raising similar issues, including private class actions.
Paul has a long background in federal and state law enforcement prior to entering private practice. He served in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for more than twenty years. He is experienced in all areas of civil rights litigation, and is best known for his work in the fields of voting, housing, disability rights, and lending and credit. While at DOJ, Paul directed the Voting Rights Act litigation program and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. He also served as the DOJ’s Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the highest career position in the Division. He received many awards from the Department, as well as from outside organizations for his law enforcement efforts, including special recognition from Attorney General Janet Reno for his development of the Department's fair lending enforcement program.
After leaving DOJ, Paul served in state law enforcement in the Office of the Florida Attorney General. Paul was the Deputy Attorney General for South Florida, and managed the Attorney General's legal programs in the southern portion of the state (including multi-state consumer protection matters), and personally litigating cases of major significance statewide. He briefed and argued Gore v. Bush before the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. He also defended the state in private class action and governmental pattern or practice litigation.
- Pro Bono Award, Indian River County, Florida Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 29th Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, 2019
- The Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation and Banking and Finance Law – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
- South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyers”- 2016, 2017, 2018
- Distinguished Alumni Award 2014, The University of Toledo College of Law
He has been appointed to the Housing Impact Advisory Council at Fannie Mae and for many years was a member of the Fair Housing Legal Support Center - John Marshall Law School (Chicago). He is active in civic and charitable affairs in Hollywood and Broward County, FL. His pro bono legal services have included challenging a mortgage foreclosure rescue scam as a violation of the Fair Housing Act, successfully representing a homeless man whose social security benefits were terminated because of an aged outstanding warrant in a far-away state, and successfully representing a low income person who faced police harassment and criminal charges for drinking beer on private property.
Paul lectures frequently on housing and credit issues, as well as civil rights and consumer protection issues involving diverse businesses.
- Speaker, “Remain Vigilant: Fair Lending Enforcement Trends and Emerging Risks” and “You Can Take It With You!!! Key Takeaways to Share When You Return Home,” CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium, Wolters Kluwer (November 13, 2019)
- Government Enforcement and Litigation Trends, 2017 Consumer Financial Services Symposium, 4 December 2017
- Speaker, “Fair Housing Act and the Lending Industry: 51 Years of Enforcement from the Johnson Administration and Beyond,” (November 1, 2019)
- “Recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act and its Impact on the Mortgage Lending Industry,” 22nd Annual CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium, 5 November 2018
- “Fair Lending Enforcement in the First 100 Days of the Trump Administration,” Mortgage Compliance Magazine, May 2017
- “BankThink Trump Has Opportunity to Restore Balance in Fair Lending Cases,” American Banker, 7 February 2017
- U.S. Supreme Court Impact on Mass. Disparate Impact Claims, Law360, May 9, 2016
- Unfair, Deceptive and Abusive Acts and Practices: Understanding the Standards and Avoiding Risk, K&L Gates Webinar, November 15, 2012
- Arbitration Nation, K&L Gates Professional Development Presentation, November 9, 2012
- Declining Markets: The Next Fair Lending Issue, presented via webinar, March 6, 2008
- NYAG Settlement Focuses on Both Fair Lending and Fairness in Lending, Mortgage Banking/Consumer Finance Commentary, December 2006