Patrick C. Oxford, firm chairman, Bracewell & Guiliani, Houston
Patrick C. Oxford, firm chairman, Bracewell & Guiliani, Houston (Gittings)

It’s through a knowing lens that Pat Oxford views the news that Dallas landed as one of two cities—the other is Cleveland—that the Republican National Committee is considering for its 2016 convention. Oxford, the chairman and former managing partner of Houston’s Bracewell & Giuliani, represented the host committee formed by Houston city fathers and leading businessmen before Republicans held their 1992 convention there.

In Dallas, Bracewell & Giuliani lawyers have offered pro bono services to those working to persuade the RNC selection committee to choose Dallas, Oxford said. Former U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, senior counsel at Bracewell in Big D, helped show the RNC convention selection committee around town when they visited recently.

Oxford said no one’s paying Bracewell lawyers yet because “Dallas has not completed the formation [or incorporation] of a host committee.”

That will need to happen before any signing of a contract between the RNC and the host city’s committee, he said.

“We are sort of in a limbo,” Oxford explained.

He expects, though, that city and business leaders will form a host committee soon and that it will retain Bracewell. Then, the lawyers will engage in “intense negotiations” over an initial contract between the RNC and the host committee. As convention plans continue to develop and costs predictably rise, all sides will jockey for who pays for various parts of the big bash.

During those ongoing negotiations, the RNC selection committee always has an advantage over any city’s host committee, Oxford said.

“The difficulty for the host committee, always, is that at the RNC, the same people do this every four years, and you [the host committee members] are learning as you go,” he explained.