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Dual-qualified in England and the United States, Kate Ashton is a corporate partner with a broad international practice, including extensive experience in Europe and the United States in private equity transactions, corporate finance, debt and equity offerings and financial restructurings. Ms. Ashton is recommended for both Debt and Equity Capital Markets, as well as for Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity, by IFLR1000 (2020). She is recommended by The Legal 500 UK (2020) for Private Equity Transactions. In the 2017 edition of the guide, she is noted as a “very good negotiator.” She regularly counsels private equity and other investment funds on corporate and securities matters including secondary acquisitions, fund recapitalisations and European listings. She also has significant experience in European financial restructurings.

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.

She is a frequent author and speaker on English and U.S. legal developments. Recent publications include “What a Boris Johnson Brexit would mean for private equity,” Private Funds CFO (November, 2019); “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); “GP-Led Restructurings: Shaking up the World of Private Funds,” Debevoise & Plimpton Private Equity Report (Spring 2018, Vol. 18, No. 1) “Debevoise On Brexit: The ‘No-Deal Deal’,” The Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog (February, 2018); “Debevoise & Plimpton Discusses Contingency Planning For Brexit,” The CLS Blue Sky Blog (December, 2017); “Acquiring Listed Funds of Funds,” Secondaries Investor (October, 2014); “Modern Secondaries Deals Are Hub of Innovation,” Private Equity News (June, 2014); “MAC Clauses in the U.K. and U.S.: Much Ado About Nothing?,” The M&A Lawyer (March, 2014). Recent speaking engagements include “The Rise and Rise of Co-Investments,” BVCA Summit (October, 2019); “Impact on Alternative Investments from European Politics,” INSEAD Seminar (September, 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); “The Venue Capital and Private Equity Manager Perspective,” Breaking Barriers: Diversity in PE & VC Forum (May, 2018); “From Fund Restructurings to GP-Led Solutions - Where Next?,” BVCA Secondaries Forum 2018 (March, 2018); “The Ever-Evolving Secondary Market: Opportunities for Buyers in a Crowded Market,” European Secondaries Summit (September, 2017); “The Investors’ Perspective,” BVCA Women in Private Equity Forum (May, 2017); “Drivers of success and lessons learnt,” BVCA (May, 2016); “Alternative sources of liquidity: new opportunities in the sponsor-led restructuring space,” 5th Annual Private Equity Secondaries Conference (May, 2016); “Fund restructurings,” Private Equity International (May, 2016); “The alignment of LP-GP interests in the sales process,” BVCA (February, 2016); “Secondaries, fund extensions and restructurings,” BVCA (October, 2015); and “Assessing the Benefits of Private Equity Co-investment,” Euromoney 9th Annual Leveraged Finance Conference (September, 2015).

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