Mercy Law Resource Centre (MLRC) will launch its second Final Hour Campaign on 24 October 2023. The campaign asks 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 – there are now more than 12,500 people, almost 4,000 of them children, living in homelessness and MLRC works hard under huge demand for our service. In 2022 we had a 10% increase in new requests for legal assistance; so far in 2023, new requests for assistance are up more than 40% compared to the same period last year. To allow us to maintain our legal services at a time of increased costs and increased demand, we are planning to expand our service. To help us do so, we are hopeful that law firms will recognise the enormous social and professional value of the service we provide and contribute to our campaign accordingly.
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 2023. 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 are invited to download the button below for display on websites or social media.