Whenever folks leave their jobs on terms characterized publicly as voluntary, it’s common if not routine to wonder whether it wasn’t voluntary at all. Today’s candidate for game that should be known as “The Pursuit of Other Interests” is Redskins’ COO Dave Donovan. The team has announced that Donovan is returning to the firm at which he practiced law before becoming a full-time employee of the Redskins.
Per our friends at CSNWashington.com, Donovan disclosed the decision during a Monday staff meeting.
“We want to thank Dave for his years of service with the Redskins,” owner Daniel Snyder said in a statement issued by the team. “Even though he is returning to the law firm where he worked prior to joining the team, he will continue to consult with the Redskins as he did prior to joining the organization. We look forward to continuing our relationship and wish him the best of luck in his new position.”
Said Donovan: “I have had a great six years with the Redskins. It has been an experience I will always appreciate and never forget. For personal reasons, I am returning to partnership in the law firm that I left in 2005. I am thrilled that I will have the ability to continue my relationship with the Redskins. I would like to thank Dan Snyder and all coaches and staff who I have worked with over my time with the team.”
Generally speaking, working in-house for a client is regarded within the legal community as less stressful and demanding than working at a private law firm, where the competing interests of multiple clients, the pressure to generate revenue via billable hours with no reward for efficiency, and often vicious office politics make life a lot harder. And so at first blush it will be reasonable to infer that, for whatever reason, the relationship between Donovan and the Redskins simply wasn’t working.
It’s also impossible not to wonder whether the move represents a shift by Snyder away from the aggressive pursuit of the team’s legal rights. On Donovan’s watch, the team decided to sue season-ticket holders — and Snyder launched a highly unpopular lawsuit against the City Paper. On that point, only time will tell.
Either way, the fact that so many people have been pushed out of their employment with fairly vanilla explanations being offered means there’s always a chance that there’s something intriguing lurking behind every fairly vanilla explanation that ever is offered when someone leaves a job.