Employee Benefits & Compensation


Francisco (Cisco) Palao-Ricketts is an associate in the Palo Alto office, focusing on employee benefits and compensation matters.

Equity Compensation & Executive Compensation

Cisco advises clients with respect to the design and taxation of equity compensation arrangements, including incentive and non-qualified stock options, restricted stock, restricted stock units, stock appreciation rights, employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs), profits interests, and phantom equity plans. He assists clients with respect to executive compensation plans and agreements, including employment, severance, change of control, and non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements. In addition, he counsels clients on their reporting and withholding obligations with respect to all types of compensation arrangements.

Retirement Plans

Cisco consults in the design and administration of qualified retirement plans, including 401(k), defined benefit pension, profit sharing, and stock bonus plans. He assists clients with annual 5500 filings and plan limit testing, and advises clients with respect to a wide range of compliance issues. Cisco consults clients regarding correcting operational and documentary failures, and represents clients in IRS voluntary compliance programs.

Health & Welfare Plans

With the new laws governing healthcare and the focus on these plans, Cisco has substantial experience advising employers with regard to their obligations with health, cafeteria, disability, and other welfare-based employee arrangements, including compliance with health laws such as COBRA, HIPAA, and the 2010 health care reform laws.

Transactional Counseling

Given the firm's exemplary transactional practice, Cisco often works with buyers to assess employee liabilities and with buyers and sellers to manage the transition of employees during and after a merger, acquisition, joint venture, spin-off, or similar transaction.

ERISA Litigation

Cisco is experienced in advising on litigation matters arising under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA).

  • LL.M., Georgetown University Law Center, 2004
    Employee Benefits Certificate
  • J.D., Syracuse University College of Law, 2003
    Participant, Mugel Tax Moot Court; Participant, Low-Income Tax Clinic
  • A.B., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1999
  • "Navigating the Waters of Severance Compensation," Journal of Deferred Compensation, Spring 2010
  • "ERISA Equity: The Myth of a Remedy & the Reality of Inequity," Journal of Pension Planning & Compliance, Spring 2005
  • State Bar of California

Contact Information

650 Page Mill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Phone | 650-565-3617
Fax | 650-493-6811

Email | Cisco

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