Michael de Leon Hawthorne

Michael de León Hawthorne

Michael Hawthorne is a Member and Chair of the Washington D.C. Corporate Practice at Dickinson Wright. He is nationally recognized in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and securities law. Michael has extensive experience working on securities matters and helps his clients comply with related laws and regulations.

Michael assists public and private companies to successfully implement corporate structures that allow them to grow their business through capital formation, M&A, and joint venturing with potential business partners. He advises startups and 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. He 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 50 private placements, more than 25 public offerings, and hundreds of M&A deals and has restructured numerous domestic and international companies.

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 manufacturing, telecommunications, distribution, natural resources, health care, energy, restaurant, and technology. 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.

Education & Credentials


Denison University

B.S., 1984

University of Wisconsin

J.D., 1987

Bar Admission

  • District of Columbia
  • Kentucky


  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities/Capital Markets Law, 2007-2021
  • Washington D.C. Super Lawyers®
    • Mergers and Acquisitions, 2007-2012
  • 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

Professional Involvement

  • 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)
  • Chair of the Washington D.C. Corporate Practice
  • Member of the Bank Insurance & Securities Association (BISA) Regulatory and Compliance Advisory Board (2014-Present)



  • Attempts to Block Department of Labor's Controversial Fiduciary Rule; Banking Insurance & Securities Association (BISA) weekly news, June 5, 2016
  • "DOL Levels Playing Field for Advisors; New Fiduciary Duty Imposed on Brokers"; afhe website, April 12, 2016
  • "Raising Capital through Crowdfunding"; BISA OneSource, September 10, 2015
  • "Crowdfunding for Real Estate—Buyer Beware"; September 1, 2015
  • "The Role of the Attorney Comes Full Circle"; The Practitioner—Family Firm Institute, April 2015
  • "Pitfalls of accounting for family-held enterprises"; Daily Herald Business Ledger, November 2014


  • "The Dark Side of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)," World Congress – Corporate IP Counsel, 2018
  • “The Role of In-House Counsel in Corporate Governance,” ACC, 2017
  • Presenting at afhe's Annual Conference Members Meeting, Miami, FL, 2017
  • "Are you organized? Virtual data rooms to the rescue - but beware of family issues"; afhe 2016 Mid-Year Conference November 11, 2016
  • “Management Wants It When?! Accessing Key Documents and Responding in a Flash," a presentation on virtual data rooms; ACC National Capital Region CLE, 2016
  • "Selling and Creating Liquidity for the Family Enterprise"; afhe’s Annual Conference & Members Meeting, Washington DC, 2016
  • "Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises Past, Present, Future"; afhe’s conferences, 2012-2017
  • "Diminished Capacity-- What the New Regulatory Environment Means for Your Firm"; Bank Insurance & Securities Association Annual Conference, 2016
  • "Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act)"; 2015
  • "The JOBS Act and its Regulatory Implications"; Banking Insurance & Securities Association (BISA), 2015
  • "The Nuts & Bolts of Private Placements After the JOBS ACT"; 17th Biennial UK/CLE Midwest/Midsouth Securities Law Institute, 2014
  • "Social Media Supervision and Regulation in the Insurance and Securities Industry"; Bank Insurance & Securities Association (BISA), 2014
  • Co-Chair, speaker and facilitator, "Raising capital and what is afhe?"; afhe's Mid-Year Conference, 2014
  • "Shareholders' Agreements in a Family Business: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly"; afhe's Annual Conference, 2013
  • "Good Corporate Governance: The Use of Codes of Conduct and Ethics"; 16th Biennial UK/CLE Midwest/Midsouth Securities Law Institute, 2012
  • Moderator, afhe’s Annual Conference, 2011-2017
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