Neil H. MacBride
  1. Partner

Mr. MacBride is a partner in Davis Polk's Litigation Department, head of the firm’s Washington DC office, and co-chair of the firm's White Collar Defense & Investigations Group. Mr. MacBride is one of the nation's leading litigators and has successfully defended dozens of companies, boards and individuals in high-stakes, crisis management matters, including white-collar defense and complex civil and corporate litigation, in multiple venues including the Department of Justice, Capitol Hill and the federal courts. He has been recognized by numerous national publications as one of the nation's premier defense lawyers, including the National Law JournalChambers USAGlobal Investigations ReviewWashingtonian and Ethisphere.  Clients say Mr. MacBride is "an extraordinarily gifted lawyer blessed with impeccable judgment and unwavering integrity," who has “earned the trust and confidence of the judiciary." Mr. MacBride also previously served in senior roles in government, including as Chief Counsel to President Joe Biden when he was in the U.S. Senate; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia during the Obama-Biden Administration, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General.  

He focuses on complex civil litigation, government enforcement actions, and congressional and internal investigations. Mr. MacBride's clients include leading global companies spanning a range of industries, including aerospace/defense, energy, financial institutions, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, technology, and social media. He helps clients navigate financial fraud, anti-corruption, money laundering, economic sanctions, False Claims Act violations, securities enforcement, and procurement and tax fraud. Mr. MacBride also focuses on complex civil and corporate litigation, including class action defense and a variety of other government-facing civil litigation. His wide-ranging government investigations, civil litigation and trial experience span more than two decades, and he has conducted more than 25 jury trials and dozens of bench trials. Mr. MacBride recently served as co-counsel in the nation’s first-ever federal trial conducted entirely by video proceedings. Mr. MacBride has secured criminal and civil enforcement declinations from multiple U.S. government enforcement agencies, and has also successfully defended and prosecuted civil litigation cases, on behalf of some of the world's most prominent companies.

Mr. MacBride has served in all three branches of government. Before joining Davis Polk in 2014, he served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, leading the office in bringing cases of national and international significance involving financial and securities fraud, international corruption, money laundering, copyright infringement and trade secret theft, defense procurement fraud, terrorism and cybersecurity. Mr. MacBride also oversaw high-profile civil litigation on behalf of the United States, defending the United States in a wide array of constitutional and programmatic challenges to U.S. government laws, regulations and programs, as well as launching an affirmative civil enforcement initiative by filing fraud lawsuits on behalf of the federal government under the False Claims Act. Nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009 and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Mr. MacBride was appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder to the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee and also chaired its Terrorism and National Security Subcommittee.

Before his appointment as U.S. Attorney, Mr. MacBride served as the Associate Deputy Attorney General at the Department of Justice, and earlier as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. He previously served as Vice President and General Counsel of the Business Software Alliance, an international trade association for the software and hardware industry, where he oversaw global anti-piracy enforcement programs in 75 countries around the world. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mr. MacBride served as Chief Counsel and Staff Director to Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) on the Senate Judiciary Committee, focusing on legislative and policy initiatives policy development ranging from national security and counter-terrorism to strengthening intellectual property and tort reform.

Work Highlights

Civil Litigation
  • Successfully sued the U.S. Treasury Department on behalf of ExxonMobil to overturn an economic sanctions penalty notice issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for violations of the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act (Exxon Mobil Corporation, et al. v. Mnuchin, et al., No. 3:17-cv-01930-B, 2019 WL 7370430 (N.D. Tex. 2017 Dec. 31, 2019))
  • Successfully defended General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc. in class action lawsuit alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (Cunningham v. General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc., No 16-cv-00545, 2017 WL 1682534 (E.D. Va. May 1, 2017), aff'd, 888 F.3d 640 (4th Cir. 2018), cert. denied, — U.S. —, 139 S.Ct. 417 (2018))
  • Piron et al. v. General Dynamics Information Technology, Inc., Civil Action No. 3:19-cv-709 (E.D. Va. 2019) (defending WARN Act class action lawsuit)
  • United States of America ex. rel. Island Industries, Inc. v. Vandewater International, Inc., et al., No. 2:17-cv-4393 (KS) (C.D. Cal. 2017) (defending relator qui tam lawsuit)
  • Successfully defended AstraZeneca in civil lawsuit alleging violations of the Antiterrorism Act (Atchley et al v. AstraZeneca UK Limited et al, No. CV 17-2136 (RJL), 2020 WL 4040345 (D.D.C. July 17, 2020)
  • Represented entity in Opioid Multi-District Litigation (N.D. Ohio 2018)
Corporate Representations
  • Secured declinations from U.S. Department of Justice on proposed criminal charges against different global financial institutions
  • Secured declinations from U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission in FCPA investigations of Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Secured declination from the Securities and Exchange Commission in FCPA investigation of Fortune 200 multinational company
  • Board of Directors of a publicly traded European company in an FCPA investigation
  • A Fortune 50 multinational company in a corruption investigation in Asia
  • A Fortune 50 multinational company in a corruption investigation in Africa
  • A Fortune 100 multinational company in a corruption investigation in Asia
  • Represented CEO of global company in congressional hearings before U.S. Senate
  • Represented senior executive of technology company in congressional investigations before U.S. Congress
  • Represented global company in congressional investigation by U.S. House of Representatives
  • A major medical device manufacturer in parallel criminal, civil, regulatory and congressional investigations of potential adulteration, misbranding, and sales and marketing issues
  • A multinational financial institution in connection with parallel criminal, regulatory and civil actions related to allegations that several major banks conspired to manipulate the rates used to determine foreign exchange prices
  • A financial services company in connection with an investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into alleged deceptive marketing practices and real estate settlement procedures
  • A major financial institution and pharmaceutical company in cybersecurity investigations by DOJ and SEC
  • An aerospace and defense company with corporate governance advice regarding cyber risks
Civil Enforcement Representations
  • Morgan Stanley in connection with its FIRREA settlement with DOJ and lawsuits by several states related to residential mortgage-backed securities
  • McGraw Hill Financial, Inc. and Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC in connection with lawsuits brought by DOJ, SEC and the Attorneys General of numerous states concerning the ratings of residential mortgage-backed securities
  • A major financial institution in connection with investigations by DOJ and states into its RMBS business
  • Multiple clients (energy company, defense contractor, and import company) in connection with separate False Claims Act investigations and relator qui tam lawsuit
Individual Representations
  • A witness in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Investigation
  • A witness in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions investigation
  • Executives from multiple global automotive companies in connection with an industrywide inquiry triggered by the investigation of VW involving allegations regarding U.S. emissions tests
  • A precious metals trader in DOJ/CFTC investigation into alleged spoofing/market manipulation
  • An executive at a multinational bank in connection with ongoing investigation regarding compliance with U.S. economic sanctions programs
Recent Trial Representations
  • Cisco Systems, Inc. in Six-Week EDVA Zoom Patent Infringement Trial: Mr. MacBride was trial defense counsel for Cisco in a recent five-week patent infringement bench trial conducted entirely over Zoom. The case involves patent infringement claims by Centripetal Networks, seeking $445 million to $557 million in damages in connection with the alleged infringement of five of its network security patents. The trial was originally slated to begin in April 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, until the COVID-19 pandemic required that courthouses be closed. Rather than delay the trial further, U.S. District Judge Henry Coke Morgan Jr. ordered the matter to proceed in via videoconference, resulting in the first-ever entire civil trial conducted by video. The six week trial concluded on June 11, 2020, with a post-trial hearing on damages held on June 25.
  • Emanuele Palma (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) in Connection with Alleged U.S. Emissions Tests Manipulation: Mr. MacBride represents Emanuele Palma, an engineer at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, who has been indicted in connection with an alleged conspiracy to manipulate U.S. emissions tests. Our client’s trial is scheduled to take place in federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan on October 26, 2021.


Mr. MacBride is consistently recognized as a leader in the legal industry:

  • Chambers USA – White Collar Crime and Government Investigations
  • Benchmark Litigation – “National Star”
  • Global Investigations Review – "DC Sanctions Lawyers to Have on Speed Dial"
  • Law360 – "Legal Lions"
  • Ethisphere's – "Attorneys Who Matter," 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Washingtonian – “Top Lawyers,” Criminal Defense, White Collar, 2020
  • National Law Journal – “Cybersecurity Trailblazer,” 2016
  • U.S. Department of Justice – Distinguished Achievement Award

Of Note

Mr. MacBride was appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in 2015 to a blue ribbon committee to conduct a comprehensive and impartial review of the Criminal Justice Act.  Following two and a half years of study, including nearly 100 hours of testimony from 229 witnesses at seven public hearings, the final report was delivered to Chief Justice Roberts and Congress in 2017.  

Current Memberships
  • Member, National Association of Former United States Attorneys
  • Board of Advisors, National Security Institute, George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School
  • Member, White Collar Crime Committee, American Bar Association
  • Barrister, Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court, 2005-present
  • Member, Supreme Court Historical Society
Past Memberships
  • Co-Chair, Trans-National Crimes Subcommittee, American Bar Association 
  • Member, U.S. Judicial Conference’s Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act
  • Member, ABA Cybersecurity Legal Task Force
  • Member, Virginia State Bar Criminal Law Section Board of Governors

Professional History

  • Partner, Davis Polk, 2014-present
  • U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, 2009-2013
  • Associate Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, 2009
  • Obama-Biden Transition Team (Justice Department), 2008-2009
  • Vice President and General Counsel, Business Software Alliance, 2005-2008
  • Chief Counsel and Staff Director to Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Senate Committee on Judiciary, 2001-2005
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney, Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia, 1997-2001
  • Associate, Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand, 1993-1997
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Henry Coke Morgan Jr., U.S. District Court, E.D. Virginia, 1992-1993

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • State of New York
  • Commonwealth of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. Virginia


  • B.A., Houghton College, 1987
    • magna cum laude
  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1992