John S. Barr Senior Deputy General Counsel

John is currently the senior deputy general counsel for McGuireWoods. Previously, he served as a senior partner from 2011 to 2015 and was general counsel for McGuireWoods from July 2003 until 2014. Throughout his career, John has represented clients in both trial and transactional matters in securities, labor and employment and construction claims.

He has had first chair responsibility for more than 350 cases in litigation or arbitration involving all types of financial products including annuities, limited partnerships and various option strategies. He also represents broker/dealers and related parties before the Virginia Division of Securities, FINRA and the SEC involving formal and informal investigations for alleged rules violations.

John has tried cases involving the enforceability of covenants not to compete, trade secrets and confidentially agreements, change in control agreements, executive compensation agreements and the "inevitable disclosure" doctrine. He has used ex parte injunctions to stop unfair competition and to regain possession of stolen databases containing confidential information.

John’s construction practice has centered on the prosecution and defense of large construction claims in traditional trial setting and in arbitration, including a significant number of cases in claims before the Virginia or North Carolina Department of Transportation, and defending E&O claims against Architects and Engineers.

John clerked for Chief Justice Harold F. Snead of the Supreme Court of Virginia from 1970 to 1972. During law school, he was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and the McNeill Law Society.


Representation of public companies, including national banks and insurance brokerage, in defense of claims by former executives for additional compensation under change in control agreements triggered by merger.

Representation of engineering firm in connection with matters arising from structural design of U.S. embassies, representation of general contractors and subcontractors in connection with claims for equitable adjustments, warranty enforcement and default.

Representation of broker/dealers and registered representatives in various securities fraud and common law fraud claims, and employment related claims in federal and state courts and in arbitration before the American Arbitration Association, and FINRA.

Representation of broker/dealers and other businesses in ex parte proceedings in federal and state courts to successfully obtain orders allowing mirror imaging of competitors’ computers to determine the presence of misappropriated confidential and trade secret information.

Representation of broker/dealer in connection with claim by former registered representative’s Chapter 11 adversary proceeding claiming that the firm had illegally appropriated his deferred compensation and applied it to payment of margin calls.

Representation of two investment banking firms in obtaining dismissal of a $77 million claim alleging fraud, breach of contract, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with an IPO the firms withdrew on pricing day.

Representation of research analyst in SEC investigation of investment banking business being awarded based on positive research.

Representation of many broker/dealers and investment advisors before the Virginia Division of Securities involving investigations of alleged fraudulent sales practice schemes, blue sky violations, record keeping requirements, supervision issues and licensing and revocation issues.

  • University of Richmond School of Law, JD, 1970
  • Wake Forest University, BA, History, 1967

Member; Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board, 2008-2016; Bench/Bar Relations Committee, 2002-2008; Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Committee, 3rd District, Section II, 1991-2001; Bar Council, 13th Judicial Circuit; Virginia State Bar

Member, Virginia Bar Association

Member; Board of Directors, 1990-1994; Chairman, Committee on Administration of Justice, 1989-1990; Member, Judiciary Committee, 1995-1997; Richmond Bar Association

Member, District of Columbia Bar Association

Member, Chairman, General Counsel Section, U.S. Law Firm Group

Member; Board of Directors, 1997-2002; Chairman, Board of Directors, 2000-2001, Richmond Metropolitan Council, American Heart Association

Member, Memorial Fund Foundation, 2012-present, Children's Home Society of Virginia

Member; President 2002-2006; Board of Directors, 1993-2006, John Marshall Foundation

Member, Virginia Public Buildings Commission, 1985-1991

Counsel, Senate Committee on Local Government, 1976-1984

Board of Trustees, Averett University, 2002-2008; 2012-2015

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court of Virginia

Named "Lawyer of the Year," Arbitration, Richmond, Best Lawyers, 2015, 2017

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Arbitration, Mediation, Woodward/White, Inc., 2007-2019

Named to "Virginia Super Lawyers," Employment and Labor, Securities Litigation, Construction Litigation, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2006-2016

Named to "Legal Elite," ADR, 2006, 2009-2010; Labor/Employment, 2017, Virginia Business

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