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Neil Barr


Chair and Managing Partner of Davis Polk. Trusted adviser to companies, executives and boards on complex transactions, strategy, high-risk issues and crisis response. 2024 American Lawyer “Dealmaker of the Year.” 

Neil is the Chair and Managing Partner of Davis Polk. He advises companies, senior executives and boards on complex and transformative transactions, corporate governance and risk mitigation matters. Clients rely on Neil’s broad skill set and look to him for advice on a wide range of issues in the context of crisis response.

Neil has represented Fortune 500 companies, major financial institutions, private equity and other asset managers, and high-net-worth individuals on their most significant matters and difficult challenges. Senior executives appreciate his insights and judgment as a fellow business leader.

The American Lawyer recognized him as a 2024 “Dealmaker of the Year” for his work advising Josh Harris and partners on the $6.05 billion acquisition of the Washington Commanders NFL franchise.

Among his pro bono and community activities, Neil serves on the Executive, Compensation (as Chair), and Nomination and Governance Committees of the Partnership for New York City’s Board of Directors; the Governance and Nominating, Human Resources and Compensation Committees of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Board of Trustees; the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce Foundation Board; Georgetown University Law Center’s Board of Visitors; and the Mount Sinai Department of Medicine advisory board. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of New York.

Experience highlights

  • Corporations and ultra-high net worth individuals in connection with strategic matters, including succession planning, litigation, crisis, PR and M&A activity
  • Partnership led by Josh Harris on the acquisition of the Washington Commanders NFL franchise
  • Josh Harris in connection with the formation of 26North
  • Professional sports franchise owners, potential owners and clubs in connection with various matters, including franchise acquisitions, dispositions and investigations
  • Morgan Stanley on its acquisition of E*TRADE
  • Sterling Equities on the sale of the New York Mets
  • Pfizer on the Reverse Morris Trust combination of its Upjohn business with Mylan
  • GE on numerous matters, including the strategic realignment of GE Capital, the combination of GE’s oil and gas business with Baker Hughes, and the merger of GE Transportation with Wabtec in a Reverse Morris Trust transaction
  • Comcast on numerous matters, including its successful contested acquisition of Sky and its acquisitions of DreamWorks Animation and NBCUniversal
  • Lockheed Martin on its Reverse Morris Trust combination of its Information Systems & Global Solutions business with Leidos
  • NBCUniversal on its sale of its interest in A&E Networks
  • Citigroup on numerous matters, including the sale of OneMain Financial, its loss protection agreement with the U.S. government, and its joint venture of the Smith Barney business with Morgan Stanley
  • McKesson on its healthcare information technology joint venture with Change Healthcare Holdings and the subsequent IPO of Change Healthcare, the divestiture of McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions business, and the acquisitions of RxCrossroads and Medical Specialties Distributors
  • VF on its spinoff of Kontoor Brands, comprising VF’s former jeans and outlets businesses
  • ConAgra on the spinoff of its commercial foods business, its acquisition of Ralcorp and the sale of its private brands business
  • Tyson Foods on its acquisitions of Hillshire Brands and AdvancePierre Foods
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American Lawyer – “Dealmaker of the Year,” 2024

Chambers USA

Legal 500 U.S.

Who’s Who Legal 

City & State New York – “Manhattan Power 100,” 2022

City & State New York – “Law Power 100,” 2021 and 2023

Best Lawyers

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
  • magna cum laude
  • Order of the Coif
  • Member, The Tax Lawyer
B.S., Finance, University of Virginia
Professional history
  • Managing Partner, 2019-present
  • Head of Tax Department, 2014-2019
  • Davis Polk since 2000
Qualifications and admissions
  • State of New York
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