Cisco Palao-Ricketts is a partner in the firm’s Business Law Department and ERISA/Executive Compensation practice. He handles the full range of executive compensation and benefits matters, but has had a particular focus on the executive compensation and benefits aspects of M&A, IPO and SPAC transactions.

Mr. Palao-Ricketts is experienced in advising start-up, emerging growth and public companies regarding compensation and employee benefit issues. Specifically, his practice includes counseling on:

  • equity compensation, including incentive stock options (ISOs) and nonqualified stock options (NSOs), restricted stock, performance share and stock unit awards, stock appreciation rights, employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs), profits interests and phantom equity arrangements
  • all types of compensation and employee benefits issues that arise in M&A, spin-offs and other complex corporate transactions, including with respect to executive retention and post-transaction employee transition matters
  • employment, retention, change of control and severance arrangements, as well as bonus and commission plans
  • the design, implementation, tax aspects, operation and any related fiduciary obligations with respect to tax-qualified retirement plans, including defined benefit and 401 (k) retirement plans, nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements and employee welfare benefit plans, including compliance with Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and recent healthcare reform laws.
Areas of Practice
Domaines D’Expertise





Professional Experience
Mr. Palao-Ricketts has been counseling companies in the technology and life sciences sectors in Silicon Valley since 2006. Prior to joining Goodwin, Mr. Palao-Ricketts formerly was a partner and co-head of the U.S. Executive Compensation and Benefits practice at DLA Piper. Prior to DLA Piper, Mr. Palao-Ricketts was at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Professional Activities
Mr. Palao-Ricketts is a member of the Board of Advisors for Syracuse University College of Law.


Mr. Palao-Ricketts is recognized by The Legal 500 US in Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation & Retirement Plans: Transactional and Capital Markets: Equity Offerings.


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LL.M., 2004
Georgetown University Law Center
J.D., 2003
Syracuse University College of Law
B.A., Political Science, 1999
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



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