Neil Barr
  1. Partner

Mr. Barr is the Managing Partner of Davis Polk, a role he assumed in 2019 after five years as head of the firm’s Tax Department. He has spent his entire career at Davis Polk, becoming a partner in 2008.

Mr. Barr has a broad-based commercial practice advising companies, senior executives and corporate boards on complex transactions, with an emphasis on federal income tax considerations and corporate governance. His tax practice focuses on domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, spinoffs and split-offs, and group structuring. In addition, Mr. Barr regularly advises clients on issues and strategy related to mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and corporate governance. He has represented Fortune 500 companies, major financial institutions, private equity and other asset managers, and high-net-worth individuals on their most significant matters.

Among his pro bono and community activities, Mr. Barr is a member of the Advisory Board of the Mount Sinai Department of Medicine and a member of the Board of Directors of the Partnership for New York City.

He has been recognized as a leading lawyer in numerous industry publications, including being twice named a “Tax MVP of the Year” by Law360.

Work Highlights

  • Pfizer as special tax counsel in its pending Reverse Morris Trust combination of its Upjohn business with Mylan
  • GE in connection with numerous matters, including as special tax counsel in 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 in connection with numerous matters, including its successful contested acquisition of Sky, its acquisition of DreamWorks Animation, its tax-free spinoff of cable subscribers to Charter Communications, and its acquisition of NBCUniversal
  • Lockheed Martin as special tax counsel in its Reverse Morris Trust combination of its Information Systems & Global Solutions business with Leidos
  • NBCUniversal in connection with its sale of its interest in A&E Networks
  • AstraZeneca in connection with numerous matters, including its strategic oncology collaboration with Merck, the unsolicited bid by Pfizer, the acquisitions of MedImmune and Omthera Pharmaceuticals, the expansion of its diabetes collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb through the acquisition of Amylin Pharmaceuticals and the subsequent acquisition of Bristol-Myers Squibb's interest in that collaboration
  • Citigroup in connection with numerous matters, including the sale of OneMain Financial and, during and in the wake of the financial crisis, its loss protection agreement with the U.S. government, its joint venture of the Smith Barney business with Morgan Stanley, and its capital realignment and capital raise
  • McKesson in 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 in its tax-free spinoff of Kontoor Brands, comprising VF’s former jeans and outlets businesses
  • ConAgra in its tax-free spinoff of its commercial foods business, its acquisition of Ralcorp and the sale of its private brands business
  • Tyson Foods in its acquisitions of Hillshire Brands and AdvancePierre Foods
  • Masco in its spinoff of its installation services business and its acquisition of Kichler Lighting
  • Glenn Dubin in the acquisition of Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy (now known as Castleton Commodities International)

Mr. Barr also regularly advises multinational corporations and asset managers in connection with internal planning matters.


Mr. Barr is consistently recognized for his work in the legal industry:

  • Chambers Global – Tax (USA)
  • Chambers USA – Tax (New York)
  • Legal 500 US – Tax (USA) | Leading Lawyer
  • Who's Who Legal – Tax (USA) | Global Leader
  • Who's Who Legal – Tax (USA) | Thought Leader
  • Best Lawyers – Tax (New York)
  • Law360 – Tax MVP of the Year | 2016, 2018

Of Note

  • Speaker, topics relating to corporate, partnership and international taxation
  • Member, Advisory Board, Mount Sinai Department of Medicine
  • Member, Board of Directors, Partnership for New York City
  • Member, Section of Taxation; Officer, Corporate Tax Committee, American Bar Association (Chair - 2016; Vice Chair - 2015, 2014)
  • Member, Executive Committee, Taxation Section, New York State Bar Association

Professional History

  • Managing Partner, 2019-present
  • Head of Tax Department, 2014-2019
  • Partner, 2008-present
  • Associate, 2000-2008

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York


  • B.S., Finance, University of Virginia, 1997
  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 2000
    • Order of the Coif
    • magna cum laude
    • Member, The Tax Lawyer