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It’s not uncommon for eminent government or corporate leaders to affiliate with a big law firm when they exit the public stage. But it doesn’t appear that former Covington & Burling partner Paul Tagliabue, who announced his retirement as National Football League commissioner last week, will settle back with his old firm. Though Tagliabue plans to step down in July, he intends to remain with the league through 2008 as a consultant. Any chance he might become a senior counsel-type at Covington? “I would tend to doubt it,” says NFL spokesman Greg Aiello. But Covington remains open to the idea. “Of course, there’s always a home here for Paul,” wrote Covington partner Mitchell Dolin in a statement to Legal Times. Tagliabue was tapped for the commissioner’s job in 1989, not long after defending the NFL in an antitrust suit by the now-defunct United States Football League. Tagliabue’s tenure has been good for Covington, which has done both legal and lobbying work for the league. But the firm should watch its back. On many short lists to replace Tagliabue as head of America’s most successful pro sports league: Baltimore Ravens president and former longtime WilmerHale partner Richard Cass.
Jason McLure can be contacted at [email protected].

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