Michael Hawthorne, Bailey Glasser Photo

Michael de León Hawthorne


Michael de León Hawthorne is nationally recognized in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and securities law. He has extensive experience working on securities matters and helps his clients comply with related laws and regulations, and also works with clients involved in complex commercial litigation.

Michael assists public and private companies to successfully implement corporate structures that allow them to grow their business through capital formation, M&A, debt financings, and joint venturing with potential business partners. He advises companies preparing for a public or private offering, ensuring these companies are structured properly in all stages of their development. He has represented seed, venture, and private equity investment funds worth more than $6 billion. Michael also regularly represents private investment firms seeking investment opportunities and companies raising capital. On either side of these transactions, he taps his extensive knowledge of complex securities and financial instruments to discover, document, and close deals that achieve, and frequently exceeds, his client's goals. Michael has handled more than 100 private placements, more than 25 public offerings, and hundreds of M&A deals and has restructured numerous domestic and international companies.

Michael also has extensive experience in working with tax laws and how to structure companies and deals to help work with and maximize tax benefits and savings (e.g., tax-free transactions, 1202 benefits, partnership taxation, like-kind exchanges, tax incentives and financings).

With the regulatory environment getting increasingly more complicated, Michael understands that his clients want straightforward advice so that they can make informed and sometimes difficult decisions. He gets to know his clients and related industries in depth so he can provide traditional as well as non-traditional options that allow them to balance risk and return on investment.

Michael's clients are involved in a wide range of industries, including technology, logistics, motion pictures, telecommunications, ticketing, manufacturing, natural resources, health care, energy, restaurant, real estate, financial industry, lending, and broker dealers. He represents many family-owned businesses and works collaboratively with their advisors to provide cross-disciplinary approaches that address issues that are unique to these clients, such as succession planning, trusts and estate preparation, and balancing the needs of multiple generations and other family members. Michael is a long-term member of the International Association of Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises, Inc. (afhe), and was the President and Chair for afhe for seven years.

What is afhe? 

Awards & Accolades

  • Best Lawyers in America, Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities/Capital Markets Law, Washington, D.C. (2007-2024)
  • Washington D.C. Super Lawyers, Mergers and Acquisitions, 2007-2012, 2023-2024
  • Kentucky Super Lawyers, Mergers and Acquisitions, 2008-2011
  • Legal Leaders, Washington D.C. & Baltimore's Top Rated
  • Louisville Magazine, "Top Lawyer," 2012
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Rated


J.D., University of Wisconsin, 1987

B.S., Denison University, 1984, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa


  • District of Columbia
  • Kentucky

News & Insights

Community & Professional

Community and Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Family Firm Institute, Member, 2014 DC Regional Advisory Committee
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Leadership Greater Washington DC
  • Leadership Kentucky
  • Mediation Association of Kentucky
  • The International Association of Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises, Inc. (afhe), Chair & President (2010-2017)
  • Member of the Bank Insurance & Securities Association (BISA) Regulatory and Compliance Advisory Board (2014-Present)



From Beeple to Billions What You Need To Know About NFTs

Part One - Raising Capital & Staying Compliant: It's Not Easy Being Green

Part Two - Raising Capital & Staying Compliant: It's Not Easy Being Green

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