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
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: http://www.rpminc.com