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RPM International Inc. and Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP to Staff Joint Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and Cleveland Bar Association Clinic

Lawyers Unite to Serve Legal Needs of Indigent

MEDINA, Ohio, June 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a first for Cleveland, RPM International Inc. (NYSE: RPM) announced today that it will join with the law firm of Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP (Calfee) to staff a volunteer clinic of The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, in collaboration with the Cleveland Bar Association. The Brief Advice and Referral Clinic will take place from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, June 11, 2005, at the West Side Catholic Center, 3135 Lorain Avenue.

The partnership between Calfee and RPM, its client, stems from their support of the Cleveland Bar Association's "Our Commitment to Our Community" program, through which law firms and individual attorneys pledge public service and pro bono hours of service to the Cleveland community.

P. Kelly Tompkins, senior vice president and general counsel for RPM and president-elect of the Cleveland Bar Association, approached Calfee about the partnership, which marks the first such collaboration between a locally based law firm and in-house corporate counsel. Tompkins noted that large corporate legal staffs in other cities piloted the practice of partnering with law firms to serve needy people.

"It is vital that all members of Cleveland's legal community unite to address the challenge of meeting the legal needs of the poor in our city," Tompkins said. "Yet, some in-house legal departments hesitate to embrace pro bono work because they are unable to make extended commitments, and their expertise varies from the needs of low-income individuals."

To address the latter concern, prior to the clinic, the Legal Aid Society will mentor volunteer lawyers with limited experience in poverty law. Legal Aid Society attorneys also will be present during the clinic, where in-house lawyers will be teamed with their colleagues from law firms. Volunteer law students from schools nationwide will conduct intake interviews.

"All lawyers are good at clarifying issues," Tompkins noted. "By putting that skill to work in these Legal Aid clinics that require only a short-term commitment, volunteer lawyers can provide quick information and referral to legal or social resources. Brief Advice and Referral Clinics offer in-house lawyers the perfect forum to meet a professional responsibility to pro bono and public service. "

The June 11 clinic is part of an ongoing series of drop-in legal clinics sponsored by the Legal Aid Society and the Cleveland Bar Association in Cleveland neighborhoods. During the first-come, first-served clinics, volunteer lawyers offer general advice, information or referrals to individuals with civil legal issues, including consumer, housing, family, health, education, work/employment and income matters. The clinics started in January, with at least one clinic held each month on the east side and on the west side of Cleveland.

The Brief Advice and Referral Clinics are one of several initiatives arising from the Cleveland Bar Association's "Our Commitment to Our Community" Program (OCTOC), through which more than 30 law firms have pledged in excess of 70,000 hours this year to pro bono and public service. More than 2,000 lawyers from these firms are participating in the OCTOC initiative.

Philip Dawson, chair of Calfee's Pro Bono Committee, is coordinating the firm's participation. "Using our legal skills to help those less fortunate is what committing to our community is all about," he said. "This is a perfect example of the many projects that we are involved in to give back to our local community. The fact that we can do this with a great client such as RPM, and work with them outside of the traditional client/law firm relationship, is an added bonus."

RPM International Inc., a holding company, owns subsidiaries that are world leaders in specialty coatings and sealants serving both industrial and consumer markets. RPM's industrial products include roofing systems, sealants, corrosion control coatings, flooring coatings and specialty chemicals. Industrial brands include Stonhard, Tremco, Carboline, Day-Glo, Euco and Dryvit. RPM's consumer products are used by professionals and do-it- yourselfers for home maintenance and improvement, automotive and boat repair and maintenance, and by hobbyists. Consumer brands include Zinsser, Rust-Oleum, DAP, Varathane, Bondo and Testors.

Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP is one of the largest law firms in Ohio, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. The firm works with companies at various stages of the business cycle -- from new economy start-ups to members of the Fortune 500. With over 200 professionals, Calfee's services encompass the entire spectrum of corporate law, from M&A and litigation, to international and IP, to lobbying and government relations. Our continuing commitment is to remember where we came from and how we got here - by being accessible and responsive; by investing in superior knowledge of each client's particular circumstances; and by focusing our talent and resources on results that work for our clients.

For more information, contact P. Kelly Tompkins, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, at 330-273-8883.

SOURCE RPM International Inc.
CONTACT: P. Kelly Tompkins,
senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of RPM International Inc.,
Web site:

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