Louis Barnett Barr
P 646 328 0783
F 646 328 1163


  • University of Baltimore, Graduate Tax Program (LL.M., Taxation) 1996
  • University of Maryland School of Law (J.D., with honors) 1990
  • Toras Moshe Institute (Talmudic Law and Hebrew Letters, magna cum laude) 1986


  • Partner, Venable

Bar Admission

  • Maryland
  • Israel

Practice Areas

  • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
  • Non-Profit & Tax-Exempt Organizations
  • Tax

Awards and Recognition

  • AV® Preeminent Rating in Labor & Employment Law

Professional and Community Activities

  • Maryland State Bar Association - Chair of the Tax Book Committee, Section of Taxation & Special Committee on the Revised Uniform Partnership Act

Louis Barnett Barr

Louis is a tax attorney with a focus on employee benefits and executive compensation.

Louis advises public, private and tax-exempt entities with respect to the full range of issues in establishing and operating employee benefit programs (including qualified and non-qualified deferred compensation plans, welfare benefit arrangements, severance agreements and equity compensation incentive plans) and counsels fiduciaries with regard to the investment and management of plan assets.  He also represents tax-exempt organizations (such as charities, foundations, educational and health organizations as well as trade associations) in connection with qualification for and preservation of tax-exempt status, private foundation rules, intermediate sanctions and unrelated business income tax.

Building on his experience with ISDAs as pension and endowment investments, Louis also works with SWA’s derivatives and energy clients and negotiates ISDAs for financial and physical commodities, related credit support documentation, other master trading agreements for energy products (NAESBs, EEIs) and Renewable Energy Credit agreements.

Representative Matters

  • Conducting a compliance review of a publicly traded company’s existing equity compensation program (with particular focus on Internal Revenue Code Section 409A) and working with the client on necessary adjustments to the equity compensation program consistent with its business, tax, and accounting objectives and with the required proxy disclosures.
  • Providing tax and ERISA consulting services to a Fortune 100 insurance and financial services company, including, assessing the qualification, tax, and ERISA considerations of implementing a long-term disability product within 401(k) plans.
  • Counseling a pharmaceutical cooperative regarding the formation of a tax-exempt affiliate to sponsor an ERISA qualified multiple employer welfare arrangement with health programs eligible for preemption of state mandated coverage laws.
  • Representing a national tax-exempt organization with regard to executive compensation issues including an audit by the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Drafting and negotiating employee benefits and ERISA provisions in connection with the spin-off of and sale of unique business line of a publicly traded company, including incentive and termination programs for executives critical to the successful transition to the new ownership structure.

News Stories


Speaking Engagements

  • “Understanding the value of Employee Benefits as a tool to attracting, recruiting and retaining U.S. employees” at an Israel Export Institute  seminar.