About the Principal
Deep Experience. Trusted Partner.
Alicia Villarreal brings decades of experience in law and government to deliver the highest quality legal work and service to her clients. Her expertise includes leading complex internal investigations and due diligence matters across the United States, Latin America, Europe and Asia. She serves as a trusted guide for clients whether helping them respond to incidents of misconduct, or improving their compliance measures to reduce the risk of unethical or criminal behavior. Ms. Villarreal serves private and publicly traded companies across many sectors and industries, including aerospace and defense, retail, food services, banking and finance, technology, and transportation and logistics, among others.
As an Appointee
Prior to launching Villarreal Law, a woman and minority-owned firm, Ms. Villarreal served in the administration of President Barack Obama as the White House-appointed Secretary’s Representative for the U.S. Secretary of Labor. In this role, she served as liaison in the western United States to federal, state and local government officials and agencies, large and small businesses, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations. She brought her innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to the position by concentrating her efforts on helping stakeholders stimulate economic development in their communities.
In Private Practice
Before joining the President's administration, Ms. Villarreal was a partner in a 1400-lawyer international law firm where she directed in-depth investigations and compliance matters for the firm’s domestic and international clients. Some of her significant representations that resulted in favorable dispositions for her clients include: a Fortune 500 technology company under investigation by international authorities for alleged FCPA and local corruption violations; a Fortune 500 retailer accused of alleged worker health and safety violations; a public hospital under criminal investigation for alleged conflicts of interest in awarding contracts; an internal investigation of a Fortune 500 food services company that established the falsity of allegations that employees had paid bribes, or facilitated bribes by subcontractors, to win a public contract; and a Fortune 500 defense industry manufacturer under investigation for allegedly over-billing the government.
As a Federal Prosecutor
Ms. Villarreal’s noteworthy background includes 14 years of service as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. During this time, she investigated and prosecuted federal criminal cases involving public corruption, government contractor fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, healthcare fraud, and a broad array of false claims to defraud the government.
As a deputy chief of the Public Corruption & Government Fraud Section, she supervised and trained federal prosecutors on the conduct of grand jury and other investigative techniques, charging decisions, discovery, plea negotiations, and criminal fraud trials. After being promoted to Senior Litigation Counsel, Ms. Villarreal directly reported to the Chief of the Criminal Division while successfully directing some of the office’s most sensitive and intricate national security matters. Ms. Villarreal also partnered in parallel proceedings with the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Notably, Ms. Villarreal successfully tried 18 federal jury trials, most of which involved multi-defendant fraud or corruption schemes, and handled numerous appeals and oral arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Serving the Community
A core value that led her to pursue a career in the law is Ms. Villarreal’s commitment to community service and pro bono work. As a young lawyer in 1991, she incorporated and became the founding president of the Mexican American Bar Foundation (MABF), a nonprofit charity established to increase diversity in the legal profession. The organization has since awarded more than a million dollars in scholarships to law students of Latino heritage. Additionally, she served as general counsel, on a pro bono basis, to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to developing America’s young leaders. Since becoming a lawyer, Ms. Villarreal has received much fulfillment from volunteering as a board member for nonprofit organizations that serve underprivileged youth, and handling pro bono matters for indigent clients. She brings that spirit of service to all her work.
Ms. Villarreal has achieved numerous professional accolades over the course of her distinguished career. As a federal prosecutor, she received multiple recognitions from federal law enforcement agencies. She twice received the prestigious U.S. Department of Justice Director’s Award (in 2001 & 2005). Additionally, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association honored her in 2006 with its Investigative Excellence Award. Ms. Villarreal has been listed as a “Top 100 – California Leading Lawyers,” by the Daily Journal in 2009 and a “Top 75 Women Litigators,” by the Daily Journal in 2007.
Ms. Villarreal earned her B.S.W., J.D., and M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, graduating from the Law School and L.B.J. School of Public Affairs dual degree program in 1989.