A large broker-dealer group in New York is splintering off the Texas-based law firm Bracewell , and joining Schulte Roth & Zabel, a law firm in Manhattan known for its work on behalf of large hedge funds and investment funds.
Julian Rainero, who headed the broker-dealer group at Bracewell in New York, will bring his partner Craig Warkol to co-chair a newly-formed practice at Schulte Roth, the firm said. Also joining is partner Douglas I. Koff, and seven other lawyers who are of counsel and associates.
Altogether, the group of 10 joins in the firm’s New York City office.
Alan Waldenberg, chair of Schulte Roth’s executive committee, said that the group had reached out to Schulte about a month ago through a recruiter and that the recruiting process unfolded relatively quickly.
“We got a phone call out of the blue that these guys were interested in pursuing alternatives and that we were, in their minds, a natural fit for them,” said Waldenberg.
Rainero and Warkol did not respond to requests for comment. Mark Evans, managing partner of Bracewell, said in a statement that the firm’s lawyers are grateful for Julian’s role in developing the New York office and “respect his decision to move to a different platform.”
He added, however, that “Some time ago, it became clear that the broker dealer practice did not fit with the firm’s strategic focus” although he did not immediately provide additional details.
Waldenberg said that the reasons for the move are “pretty simple": “We see ourselves as being the premier investment management firm in the city, if not the country. To add to that the premier broker-dealer advisory practice is an extraordinarily good fit.”
The group advises investment fund clients on broker-dealer compliance with the SEC and other agencies.
In January, Bracewell re-branded itself (axing the Giuliani from Bracewell & Giuliani) after name partner and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani joined the Miami-founded law firm Greenberg Traurig, which has grown over the years to become a global enterprise.
Since Giuliani’s departure, Bracewell has hired tax partner Michele Alexander in its New York office. But it has also seen a larger number of partners head for the exits, including a five-lawyer financial services group in Houston and a litigation practice leader in Seattle .
Waldenberg, for his part, said that he felt the group’s move was more of a reflection on their interest of Schulte Roth than any internal business issues at Bracewell.
“This is much more of a natural fit than Bracewell for those guys,” he said. “They have a securities regulatory practice, and we’re the premier investment management practice in the city. Bracewell is a great firm, but it’s a Texas-based oil and gas firm primarily.”
Schulte Roth has offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and London and has represented money managers and businessmen related to the Bernie Madoff investment scandal. This included J.Ezra Merkin , the financier targeted in various civil lawsuits by investors and Irving Picard , the trustee of Bernard Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
According to the Bracewell website, the firm has more than 450 lawyers and professionals in 10 offices: Austin, Connecticut, Dallas, Dubai, Houston, London, New York, San Antonio, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
UPDATED: This story has been updated to include comment from Bracewell managing partner Mark Evans.