Paul Tagliabue

Paul Tagliabue

Senior Of Counsel
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Covington & Burling LLP
One CityCenter
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
Tel: +1 202 662 5100
Fax: +1 202 778 5100



  • New York University School of Law, J.D., 1965
    • with honors
  • Georgetown University, B.A., 1962
    • with honors

Judicial Clerkship

  • Hon. Oscar Davis, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, 1965-1966

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia

A long time Covington partner, Paul Tagliabue uses his experience as chief executive and board member of the National Football League, major businesses and nonprofits to advise clients on matters of public policy, organizational structure and governance and strategic risk mitigation approaches. Mr. Tagliabue serves as a leader of Covington’s Strategic Risk and Crisis Management initiative.

Representative Matters

  • Chaired the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Independent Advisory Committee to assess and revise the Committee’s governance structure and management responsibilities.
  • Advised national trade association on trends in board responsibilities for enterprise risk management and in best practices for crisis management.
  • Advised major global corporation operating in highly regulated sectors on emerging public policy issues and potential for conflicting government requirements at national, regional and international levels.
  • Advised international media rights enterprise on strategic opportunities in U.S. and other major media markets.

Previous Experience

  • Mr. Tagliabue served with distinction as NFL Commissioner from 1989 to 2006, presiding over an extended period of labor-management peace and record growth of fan interest and revenue in professional football. During his tenure, the league grew from 28 to 32 teams, secured the largest television contracts in entertainment history, and created the NFL Network. Mr. Tagliabue also led the NFL in dealing with the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the effects of Hurricane Katrina on the New Orleans Saints and the league.

Honors and Rankings

  • Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers, Sports Law (2012, 2014-2015)
  • Legal 500 US, Sports (2014-2015)
  • U.S. Department of Defense, Secretary of Defense Civilian Meritorious Service Award (1969)
  • Sports Business Lifetime Achievement Award, Sports Business Journal (2012)
  • Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame (2012)
  • Jackie Robinson Foundation, Humanitarian Award (2012)
  • NCAA, Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award (2007)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Council on Foreign Relations, Member


  • Promontory Financial Group – Advisory Board (2012 to present)
  • NETSHOES Corporate Board (2012 to present)

Not-for-Profit Boards

  • Georgetown University (2006 to present)
  • State University of New York: Levin Graduate Institute of International Relations and Commerce, Board Chair (2005-2009)
  • United Way of America, Board Member, (1993-2002; Board Chair, 1997-1998)
  • National Urban League, former Board Member
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Board Member (2005-2009)

Publications and Speeches

  • "Education and Sports: Building Well-Being," World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE) Conference, Doha (2012)
  • "Crisis Response That Takes a Page From the NFL Playbook," Counsel to Counsel (October 2011), Author
  • "Nurturing Human Capital for Long Term Business Success and Economic Growth," Forbes Asia CEO Conference (2010)
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