Reflecting back on 2022, Mercy Law Resource Centre launched its first ever Final Hour Campaign on 23 November. The campaign asked law firms across Ireland to consider donating the last billable hour of the year – either as a single contribution on behalf of a law firm, or a call-to-action for individual lawyers in the firm – to support our free legal service for people facing homelessness.
Our clients are among the most marginalised in society. They cannot afford private legal representation to resolve their housing crisis, and State legal aid for housing matters is limited. MLRC seeks to bridge this gap in access to justice with a compassionate and accessible service. In the words of one former client, “Mercy Law have helped me where there was no hope or chance for a different outcome”.
The number of people experiencing homelessness in Ireland is at an all-time high and there is huge demand for our service – in 2022 we experienced a 180% increase in queries from people who had been denied access to basic emergency accommodation. However, MLRC continues to face a significant funding gap to meet this demand. It is for this reason that we sought the support of the legal community through this campaign.
Speaking on the launch of the campaign, MLRC Managing Solicitor Aoife Kelly-Desmond said: “Lawyers are used to accounting for every minute of their time. This year, Mercy Law Resource Centre is asking law firms and legal professionals to consider donating the value of their final billable hour of 2022. This contribution will help MLRC support people facing homelessness through legal barriers preventing them from accessing safe, securing housing.”
After contributing to the campaign, participants were invited to download the button below for display on websites or social media.
MLRC intends to run the campaign again in the last quarter of 2023 to harness the support of the legal community for our work.