Washington Wrap is a weekly roundup of Big Law hires and other Washington, D.C., legal industry news. Read the previous edition here. Send tips and lateral moves to Katelyn Polantz at kpolantz@alm.com.

Mark Lewis, the managing partner of Bracewell’s office in Washington, D.C., likes to talk about his experience with legal headhunters. They call him a lot—both because he’s looking to hire laterals, and because they would like to poach away his oil and gas transactional practice, he said.

A headhunter call intending the latter woke up Lewis about a year ago. He essentially told the headhunter, “Why don’t you try to help me at Bracewell rather than get me to move?” Lewis recalls the headhunter saying, “I’ve asked around, but that sale would be hard.”

Laterals in the nation’s capital either didn’t think of Bracewell when they look to move, or they thought of the departure of “The Mayor,” as Bracewell partners even now refer to Rudy Giuliani, the firm’s former name partner who left for Greenberg Traurig in January 2016.

The office still struggles to grow, though Lewis hopes to change that trajectory.

Lewis realized that the mayor’s departure, coupled with a general stagnation in the office’s small size, created a message of instability, even in Washington, D.C. “It made us realize we had to get a positive message out,” Lewis said. “I think the firm is in a good place right now.”

Lewis lateraled to Bracewell in 2010 after spending 17 years at Baker Botts, a rival, Texas-centric firm, and he began running Bracewell’s Beltway base about five years ago.

“We were about the same, with silos and people who worked by themselves,” Lewis recalled. “I’ve wanted to grow since I took on this role. It was either that or dealing with problems—‘Mark, my computer’s slow.’ What can I do about that?”

What he could do, however, was focus the office on certain practice areas.

“What we’ve decided is we’re not all things to all people,” Lewis said. “We’re not just gonna bring in dogs and cats. It’s why growth is hard.”

Last year, Bracewell’s Washington office size didn’t inch forward. The office counted about three fewer lawyers in 2016 than the year before, for about 38 total. Lewis has managed to land a few new partners and practices in the past several months, however.

Most recently, David Super traded in 27 years at Baker Botts for an office near Lewis’ as Bracewell was in the market for a first-chair trial litigator in Washington after partner Richard Beckler—a lateral recruit from Howrey—left the firm in May to become general counsel at the General Services Administration. Super and Lewis had started as Baker Botts summer associates together decades earlier.

Hans Dyke, an energy transactions partner, also joined Bracewell in April from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer after Lewis received a headhunter’s cold call about him. A month earlier, Bracewell picked up Robert Wagman Jr., a government contracts partner also leaving Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s office in the nation’s capital.

Wagman’s practice, Lewis said, is just “a beachhead” for Bracewell. Expert more soon.

The past two weeks’ lateral moves:

In other D.C.-area industry news:

The week’s lateral moves: