Attorney Michael Merra Joins NHLA Housing Justice ProjectPosted May 25, 2023
NHLA recently welcomed Michael Merra as a staff attorney based in Manchester for the Housing Justice Project.
Mike brings more than 30 years of civil litigation experience in the New Hampshire court system. He has been the lead attorney in complex business litigation cases in the NH Superior Court as well as preparing briefs and presenting oral arguments in cases before the state Supreme Court and in Federal District Court.
Mike retired from private practice in Fall 2021 and focused on his successful road race and track timing business. But after 18 months of retirement, he missed the practice of law and decided to return after he learned that NHLA was looking for a new staff attorney in its Housing Justice Project.
In the last few years of his private practice, Mike began accepting numerous cases from the NH Bar Association Lawyer Referral Services Modest Means Program. In fact, Mike holds one of those cases, representing a single mother with several children who were about to be homeless, as one of the most rewarding of his legal career.
“There was one eviction case I took on for a client who had already lost her hearing in the circuit court after representing herself pro se at the merits hearing. I filed an emergency motion in the NH Supreme Court late on a Friday night after the eviction deadline had passed. The motion was ultimately accepted by the court for briefing and the case was soon after settled when the opposing party agreed to withdraw the eviction. That client and her children were able to remain housed which was very satisfying”.
Mike recognizes that the power imbalance between renters and landlords is greater than ever and finds it satisfying to help level the playing field through his new work with legal aid. Within his first week at NHLA, he represented a client who was three months behind on rent, and ensured they could remain in their home. Mike looks forward to collaborating with NHLA attorneys on depositions and trials as well as sharing his knowledge with the latest batch of NHLA summer interns.
"Loss of housing is an existential threat to people," he said. "And very rarely, at least in my experience, did I see someone getting evicted have a lawyer representing them. It's not easy work, but I look forward to helping out."