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Rita Patel

Rita M. Patel

Chair, US Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice
Co-Chair, Transactions Specialists practice
She has partnered with CEOs, senior executives, senior HR professionals and compensation committees advising on executive compensation and employee benefits matters for more than 20 years.

Rita Patel is an experienced attorney focusing her practice on executive compensation and employee benefits matters. Her 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. She advises in both sell- and buy-side representations.

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

Her leadership and dedication are evident in her work as the current Chair of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation practice at DLA Piper.

CourtsUnited States Tax Court
  • LL.M., Tax, Georgetown University 2000
    with distinction
  • J.D., Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University 1996
    Woolsack Honor Society
  • B.A., American University 1993
    magna cum laude


  • Chambers USA
    •  Band 3, District of Columbia Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (2021-2022)
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • Recommended, Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans: Transactional (2018-2022) 
    • Recommended, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans: Design (2018-2020) 
    • Recommended, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (2017)

Pro Bono

Rita continues to assist immigration clients through DLA Piper's pro bono asylum program.

Prior Experience

Prior to joining the firm, Rita worked for the US Department of Justice through its Attorney General's Honor Program. Through this program, Rita practiced immigration law first as a US Immigration Court clerk and then as an attorney with the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

Civic and Charitable

  • Board Member, Children's National Hospital (Children’s Health Board) 
  • Former Board Member, Street Law Board

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Member, 2021 Law360 Benefits Editorial Board
  • American Bar Association, Taxation Section
    • Vice Chair, Executive Compensation Subcommittee
    • Former Vice Chair, ERISA Litigation Subcommittee
  • District of Columbia Bar Association, Taxation Section
    • Former Vice Chair, Employee Benefits Subcommittee



+1 202 799 4242
(Work, Washington, DC)