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Dual-qualified in England and the United States, Kate Ashton is a leader of the firm’s Private Fund Transactions Group. She regularly counsels investors on private fund restructurings, recapitalisations and tender offers; listed fund transactions; purchases and sales of portfolios of LP interests; and domestic and cross-border co-investment transactions. Ms. Ashton is recommended by IFLR1000which also named her in its “Women Leaders 2021” list. She is also recommended in The Legal 500 UK (2024) for her prowess in Private Equity and in particular, for her work on secondaries transactions. She has also been lauded as “an excellent operator” and a “go-to on secondary transactions.”

Beyond fund-related transactional experience, Ms. Ashton’s broadly international practice includes corporate finance, debt and equity offerings and financial restructurings. She is recommended for both Debt and Equity Capital Markets, as well as for Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity, by IFLR1000 (2022). Ms. Ashton recently served as the Co-Chair of the Capital Markets Forum of the International Bar Association and is a former trustee of the American College of Investment Counsel.

Ms. Ashton is a frequent author and speaker on topics relating to the alternative asset and secondaries market. Selected publications include “How co-investors are adjusting to an unsettled market,” Private Equity International (October, 2023); “Untold Potential,” Private Equity International (October, 2021); “All in this together,” Private Equity International (November, 2020); “Debevoise Discusses Private Equity Options in Face of Liquidity Crunch,” The CLS Blue Sky Blog (May, 2020); “Sharing isn’t always easy,” Private Equity International (December, 2018); “How to be a good coinvestor,” Private Equity International (October, 2018); “Debevoise On Material Omissions In Private Equity Secondary Transactions,” The CLS Blue Sky Blog (October, 2018); “Beware Pitfalls In Private Equity Secondary Transactions,” Law360 (October, 2018); and “GP-Led Restructurings: Shaking up the World of Private Funds,” Debevoise & Plimpton Private Equity Report (Spring 2018, Vol. 18, No. 1). Selected speaking engagements include “Continuation Funds – The Only Way Is Up?,” BVCA Secondaries Roundtable (February, 2023); “The Rise and Rise of Co-Investments,” BVCA Summit (October, 2019); “The current state of the secondaries market,” BVCA Secondaries Roundtable (December, 2018); “The Rise & Rise of GP-Led Deals,” European Secondaries Summit (September, 2018); and “From Fund Restructurings to GP-Led Solutions - Where Next?,” BVCA Secondaries Forum 2018 (March, 2018).

Ms. Ashton graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and from Harvard Law School. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and of the American Trust for the British Library and is active in a number of other cultural and pro bono organisations. Ms. Ashton co-founded the Lawyers Volunteering for the Arts pro bono initiative in London, through which a consortium of law firms provides pro bono legal advice to low-income arts and cultural organisations in the United Kingdom, and serves on its Executive Committee.


  • Harvard Law School, J.D.
  • Harvard University, A.B.

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • Solicitor, England & Wales