Our People

Zoila E. Villacorta

Los Angeles
(424) 256.0171


State Bar of California
State Bar of New York (Admission Pending)


Mergers and Acquisitions
Private equity/Venture Capital
International Mergers and Acquisitions



L.L.M., Tax, New York University School of Law

J.D., Boston University School of Law, (with Honors)

B.A., PEIS, University of California Berkeley, (with Honors)




Zoila E. Villacorta is a seasoned attorney with extensive experienced primarily in the areas of employment, employee benefits, and executive compensation law. 

Ms. Villacorta counsels clients with respect to the tax, securities, corporate governance, stock exchange, ERISA and other implications affecting executive compensation arrangements. Ms. Villacorta regularly provides advice regarding equity arrangements (such as stock options, restricted stock, RSUs and phantom stock), employment agreements, change-in-control agreements and all other types of executive compensation (including incentive arrangements, SERPs, deferred compensation and "409A" and "162(m)" compliant plans). With respect to these issues, she advises companies and senior executives in numerous industries.

Ms. Villacorta also advises clients on compliance with ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code, and other laws affecting employee benefit plans, as well as plan design, administration, termination, fiduciary duty issues, prohibited transactions, qualification requirements, and other matters concerning pension, profit-sharing, employee stock ownership, 401 (k), and other types of plans.

Ms. Villacorta counsels clients on benefits and compensation matters arising in all types of corporate transactions, including national and international mergers & acquisitions, restructurings, debt and equity offerings. In numerous transactions, she has addressed issues concerning the treatment of stock options and other equity awards, change-in-control and "golden parachute" tax issues and welfare liabilities, severance obligations and COBRA.

Ms. Villacorta works with corporate and real estate lawyers in structuring and maintaining investment funds that include participation in pension plans. Through her work in the investment fund area, Ms. Villacorta has obtained substantial experience in applying the rules provided under the "plan asset" regulations, including the operation of venture capital operating companies and real estate operating companies. Ms. Villacorta advises clients on both avoiding ERISA "plan asset" status and operating an investment fund in accordance with ERISA.

Ms. Villacorta began her legal career at Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich LLP in Palo Alto, California, where she practiced in the employee benefits group from 1999 to 2000. In 2000, Ms. Villacorta joined Irell & Manella LLP where she was a member of the tax and employee benefits group until 2005 when she joined the employee benefits and executive compensation group of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Most recently, Ms. Villacorta was Special Counsel at Irell & Manella, LLP.

Ms. Villacorta is the Co-Chair of the Business Law Section of the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles. Ms. Villacorta is also the Co-Chair of the Employee Benefits Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.