Zhiyan Cao is a corporate counsel and member of the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity and Private Fund Transactions Groups. Her practice focuses on advising private equity firms and corporations in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and other corporate matters, with a particular focus on private fund transactions covering the full range of private equity buyouts, GP-led secondaries, continuation funds, preferred equity investments and strategic minority investments. She also has particular expertise in transactions in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Ms. Cao has represented, among others, Oaktree Capital Management, TPG, Elliott Investment Management, Temasek, Coller Capital, Hamilton Lane, HarbourVest Partners, Johnson & Johnson, Allergan and International Paper.

Ms. Cao is a contributing author to the Practising Law Institute’s Health Care Mergers and Acquisitions Answer Book, an extensive reference guide addressing structuring, regulatory, due diligence and documentation issues in healthcare M&A and licensing transactions, and is a frequent author of articles on secondaries, preferred equity investments and co-investments for the Debevoise & Plimpton Private Equity Report

Ms. Cao joined Debevoise in 2014. She received a B.A. and LL.B (Hons) from the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 2009, where she was an editor of the University of New South Wales Law Journal. She is a member of the Bar of New York. 


  • New South Wales, 2009, Bachelor of Laws
  • New South Wales, 2009, B.A.

Bar Admissions

  • New South Wales
  • New York