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

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia

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 organizational structure and governance, develop strategic risk mitigation approaches and assist in managing unfolding crises.

Mr. Tagliabue chaired the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Independent Advisory Committee in 2009-10 to assess the committee’s governance structure and management responsibilities.  In undertaking such assignments, Mr. Tagliabue works closely with firm colleagues who have special expertise in corporate, legislative, regulatory and international legal issues.

Mr. Tagliabue serves as a leader of Covington’s Strategic Risk and Crisis Management initiative.  Covington lawyers represent some of the world’s most sophisticated clients in cutting-edge technology, white collar defense, litigation, transactional, government affairs, international and life sciences matters.  The group is anchored by senior lawyers who have had operational and management responsibility for high-risk, high-profile situations and crises and have successfully navigated through these issues.

Mr. Tagliabue is regularly engaged in business, higher education and public policy discussions in Australia, China, Brazil, Japan, London, Qatar and elsewhere with representatives of business, government and academia.  He serves on Panasonic's Global Advisory Group and on the Advisory Board of the Promontory Financial Group.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of Netshoes, a leading Latin America online retailer, and the Chair of Georgetown University's Board of Directors.

Previous Experience

Mr. Tagliabue served with distinction as NFL Commissioner from 1989 to 2006, presiding over an extended period of labor-management peace, league expansion 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, created the NFL Network, developed policies to finance the construction of more than 20 team stadiums, and expanded the league’s global reach.  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.

Mr. Tagliabue’s leadership of the NFL has been featured in the Economist; Fortune; Business Week; Time; and China Daily.

Honors and Rankings

  • Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers, Sports Law (2012, 2014-2015)
  • Legal 500 US, Sports (2014-2015)
  • 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)
  • Washingtonian of the Year (1990)
  • U.S. Department of Defense, Secretary of Defense Civilian Meritorious Service Award (1969)

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Council on Foreign Relations, Member


  • Panasonic Global Advisory Board (2008 to present)
  • 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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