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He’s a millionaire consultant, best-selling author, high-priced speaker and talk-show guest extraordinaire. People still call him Mr. Mayor, and some predict he will be the next governor or vice president — or even president. At least for the next year or two, though, Rudolph W. Giuliani will take on a more familiar title: litigator. Starting in May, the former New York City mayor will run the newly minted Manhattan office of Bracewell & Patterson, a 400-lawyer firm from Texas with some prominent clients, including Bank of America and the oil company Shell, as well as a wealth of Republican political connections. What the 60-year-old Houston-based firm does not have is a presence — or wide-spread name recognition for that matter — in New York. Patrick C. Oxford, Bracewell’s managing partner, told reporters Wednesday that Giuliani is the answer to that problem, and the former mayor has been given wide latitude to prove it. As of today, the entire firm will be renamed Bracewell & Giuliani (Harry W. Patterson, who joined the firm in 1951, is deceased). The firm’s Web site and e-mail addresses are expected to reflect the new leadership this afternoon. The firm even plans to rent space near the Times Square offices of Giuliani’s consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, so he will have an easier time shuttling between his leading roles at both institutions. Oxford said he expects Giuliani to litigate as well as oversee the New York office’s development and strategy. He said Giuliani was “dying to argue a case.” “This is by far the most exciting thing that’s happened since I’ve been here,” said Oxford, a 35-year veteran of the litigation firm. Giuliani has already had dinner or lunch with about 70 Bracewell partners, Oxford said, and has visited the firm’s attorneys in Texas. In New York, he will build the office from the ground up, though Oxford said he has discussed the possibility of moving five current partners to Manhattan. MAJOR RECRUITING EFFORT Oxford said he hoped Giuliani could recruit 25 to 30 lawyers by the end of the year and more than 50 in the next two years. Joining Giuliani from the outset will be two of his associates at Giuliani Partners: Michael D. Hess, Giuliani’s former corporation counsel, and Daniel S. Connolly. “If the New York office is successful, it will have well north of 100 lawyers and will arguably be the most important office in the firm,” Oxford said. Though staking a claim to New York is not yet a “life or death” proposition for Bracewell, Oxford said, “in the next few years, it will be.” Bracewell has rejected acquisition offers, Oxford said. He said the firm also had considered buying a small practice group to give it a larger start in New York, but decided against the idea because “New York has been picked over in that respect,” he said. Oxford met Giuliani through Roy W. Bailey, a founding partner in Giuliani Partners who is from Texas. Oxford was visiting New York during the 2004 Republican National Convention and mentioned his firm’s expansion goals over dinner with Bailey. Oxford said he and Giuliani began discussions in the fall. Oxford described Giuliani as a great lawyer and leader, as well as someone who knows New York and can put Bracewell on its map. At the moment, the firm has offices in several Texas cities, as well as Washington, D.C., and London. “We don’t think there is going to be such a thing as a Texas firm,” Oxford said. “You have to be able to represent your clients in the financial centers in New York and London.” Even with Giuliani at the helm, Bracewell will have its work cut out for it. “It’s the most competitive legal market in the world, with perhaps the exception of London,” said Lee D. Charles, the partner in charge of the New York office of Baker Botts, a Houston-based firm of 700 attorneys that landed in New York in 1992 and now fields 62 lawyers there. “I’m not sure that adding a name even of the magnitude of Giuliani is going to mitigate those competitive pressures,” he said. Ann Israel, founder of the recruiting firm Ann Israel & Associates, said she is a fan of Giuliani’s and excited to see him returning to the legal community. However, she said there would be many obstacles to Bracewell’s success. “Frankly, it is quite difficult to recruit for a branch office that nobody knows anything about that is starting from the ground floor,” she said. “It’s nice that Rudy’s there, but is Rudy Giuliani going to stay? Gosh, I thought we were going to be campaigning for him for president.” Oxford said he is not concerned about losing Giuliani to his political aspirations. “When we really need our most help is now,” he said. “We are going to support the mayor in whatever he decides to do in that respect. Secretly, I hope he doesn’t, but we are going to support him. We are prepared to live with it. I think on balance, it will be a positive for us if he was a presidential nominee or something along those lines.” Oxford said the New York office would concentrate on white-collar litigation, business ethics and corporate investigations. Giuliani was traveling from Los Angeles on Wednesday and unavailable for comment. A former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he spent time in private practice at White & Case and Anderson Kill Olick & Oshinsky before being elected mayor in 1993. He left White & Case after one year and was reportedly miserable at the firm after having clashed with some of its members.

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