Rita Patel > DLA Piper LLP (US) > Washington DC, United States > Lawyer Profile

DLA Piper LLP (US)
United States

Work Department

Tax; Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation; Regulatory and Government Affairs; Corporate; Employment; Healthcare


Partner; Chair, US Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice; Co-Chair, Transactions Services Practice


For more than 20+ years Rita Patel has partnered with CEO’s, senior executives, senior HR professionals and compensation committees advising on executive compensation and employee benefits matters. With a focus on publicly-traded companies, Rita’s services span the full range of domestic and international employee benefits law issues, including complex taxation, equity design, disclosures, asset acquisitions and divestitures, mergers, spin-offs and other strategic alliances involving life science, technology, financial, hospitality, food and beverage and real estate organizations.  She routinely advises on benefits and compensation matters in both sell and buy side representations.

Rita’s leadership and dedication to her practice is evident, not only when working with clients, but also as the current Chair of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice at DLA Piper. Her practice regularly partners and collaborates with other departments across the firm on matters related to complex regulatory framework, proxy disclosure, executive agreements, incentive compensation arrangements, and retention, change-in-control, say on pay and golden parachutes agreements. Rita advises on various tax and federal securities laws as they relate to such equity-based arrangements including Section 409A and 280G and routinely advises and provides comprehensive solutions on the design and administration of stock options, employee stock purchase plans, and various types of equity arrangements such as profits interest, restricted stock, restricted stock units, stock appreciation rights and phantom equity.

Rita maintains a broad-based employee benefits practice which includes designing sophisticated qualified and nonqualified retirement and deferred compensation plans. Rita has considerable experience advising clients in the correction of plan failures under IRS and Department of Labor correction programs. Rita routinely advises clients on fiduciary and governance matters, including the formation and operation of plan fiduciary committees and provides fiduciary training.  In addition, Rita provides guidance regarding welfare plans, including multiple employer welfare arrangements.


LL.M, Georgetown University; J.D., Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University; B.A., American University

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Labor and employment > Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional

DLA Piper LLP (US) frequently collaborates with the firm’s corporate practice to handle high-end transactions, as demonstrated by the team’s advice to Canadian pharmaceutical and cannabis company, Tilray, on its merger with Aphria. Practice leader Rita Patel, who works in the firm’s Washington DC office, led on this matter, while Chicago-based Richard Ashley has experience in handling benefits and compensation issues arising from transactions, including Code Sections 162(m), 280G and 409A compliance. Cisco Palao-Ricketts departed in June 2021 while San Diego-based Michelle Lara joined from Cooley LLP in April 2021. Erin Sweeney is another key member of the team.