Neil McBride began his legal career with Ralph Nader in Washington, D.C. He moved to Tennessee in 1972 to start a Ford Foundation-funded public interest law firm that served environmental groups, community-controlled health clinics and local development organizations in the Appalachian coalfields. In 1978 he founded and became director of a legal aid program that served the Cumberland Plateau. In 2002 that program merged with two others to form the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, which he served as General Counsel. His legal work focused on appellate advocacy and nonprofit law. He taught a course on nonprofit law as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law for ten years. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law.
In 2011, President Obama appointed him to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority, on which he served until his term expired in 2014. In 2012, he received the Tennessee Bar Association’s Ashley T. Wiltshire Public Interest Attorney of the Year Award. He is a member of the House of Delegates of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Association for Legal Services. He continues to give pro bono representation to nonprofit groups in East Tennessee. He is retired and lives in Knoxville with his wife, Maureen.