Paula Barnes is Senior Counsel with Macy’s, Inc. and serves as a marketing law and corporate retail law generalist advising her Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury clients on a variety of retail operational issues.  Her practice area at Macy’s, Inc. includes providing advice on advertising, social media and digital marketing, cause marketing, regulatory including FTC Endorsement guidelines and brand protection matters, as well as reviewing, drafting and negotiating vendor contracts, Designer collaboration and other licensing/co-branding agreements, sponsorship, special event, software and SEO agreements, data analytics, digital agreements, and talent releases.  In addition, Ms. Barnes serves as primary counsel to Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s corporate executive and regional management on store asset protection policies and procedures and provides counsel on theft investigations.

Ms. Barnes has been active in a number of local and national bar associations and public service and social justice organizations.  She is a member of the United Nations Association, New York chapter, formerly served as a Board Member of the Association of Black Women Attorneys and serves as an Adjunct Professor with Fordham University School of Law.  Ms. Barnes participates in the Women In-House Council Leadership Institute and is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Retail Law group, as well as a member of Corporate Counsel Women of Color.  At Macy’s she served as a member of the Law Department’s Diversity and Inclusion Council, working with the Communication and Pipeline sub-committee, is a 2015 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow and served as the past Office Chair for the Street Law Mentoring program and Bag Hunger campaign.  At MetLife, Ms. Barnes served as a Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee’s Bar Association Liaison sub-committee, where she oversaw the subcommittee’s budget, executed strategy to meet the goals and objectives of both the sub-committee and overall Diversity Committee’s mission and helped plan a number of the sub-committee’s signature events, including the annual Diverse Bar Leaders’ Roundtables.

Prior to joining Macy’s, Ms. Barnes was counsel with MetLife and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office under Robert Morgenthau.  While at MetLife, Ms. Barnes provided counsel on the distribution of MetLife products through the agent and independent broker channels, including the review of sales and promotional material for regulatory and IP compliance, and the drafting and negotiation of vendor agreements.  Her expertise included serving as a primary distribution attorney for MetLife’s field agencies providing advice to management regarding branding initiatives, including marketing campaigns, as well as brand enforcement measures.

As a trial attorney with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, she successfully prosecuted numerous general misdemeanor and felony crimes, before being selected to join the Child Abuse Bureau, where she successfully prosecuted felony child abuse crimes and served as a Supervisor for the unit’s Summer Interns.


Howard University School of Law (Washington, D.C.), cum laude

University of Louisville, B.A., English, cum laude

Speaking Engagements

  • Presented on Best Practices for Conducting Investigations at the Retail Symposium hosted by the New York State Retail Association and Macy’s (June 2015)
  • Presented on Working with Talent and Influencers to Promote Your Brand at the American Conference Institute’s Women Leaders in Advertising and Marketing Law Conference (October 2015)
  • Co-Panelist on Cause Marketing at the Brand Activation Association/ Association of National Advertisers conference (November 2016)