Michael S. Hong
  1. Partner

Mr. Hong is a partner in Davis Polk’s Corporate Department, practicing in the Investment Management Group. He advises sophisticated private fund managers across all asset classes in their most complex, high-value transactions. Mr. Hong’s advice encompasses fund formation, M&A-related transactions (with a special expertise around co-investments), and ongoing investment-related advice on behalf of private equity, growth capital, credit, hedge, energy, real estate, co-investment and fund of funds managers.

Mr. Hong also has extensive experience advising clients on secondary transaction matters, including GP-led secondary transactions. He also regularly advises clients in connection with GP-stake sales, as well as purchases, spin-outs and joint ventures involving alternative asset managers. Mr. Hong also regularly represents investment professionals in connection with their employment arrangements with fund sponsors, as well as emerging, “first-time” fund sponsors.

His clients include Harvest Partners, Trilantic Capital Management, Lightyear Capital, Tailwind Capital Management, Glendower Capital, Cornell Capital, Cowen Investment Management, BeaconLight Capital, BBAM and GHK Capital Partners. Prior to joining Davis Polk, Mr. Hong also advised Apollo Global Management and GSO/Blackstone on the formation of numerous private funds, managed accounts and related matters. 

Mr. Hong is featured regularly in various industry publications. See "SEC Fines and Bars CCO From the Funds Industry for Compliance Failures and Deceiving OCIE," Private Equity Law Report, November 10, 2020, “SEC Fines PE Sponsor for Passing Operating Partner Expenses Through to Investors Without Adequate Disclosure,” Private Equity Law Report, June 9, 2020, “PE Sponsors Must Avoid Including Mischaracterized Investments in Track Records or Face SEC Ire,” Private Equity Law Report, June 2, 2020, “Liquidity Solutions for Private Funds during a Market Dislocation,” Private Funds CFO, April 20, 2020, “Private-Equity Firms Begin to Wrestle With Coronavirus Risk,” The Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2020; “PLI Panel Explores Approaches to GP Succession Planning," Private Equity Law Report, October 8, 2019; "Elizabeth Warren’s Attack on Private Equity Could Have a Surprising Group of Backers: Investors in Private Equity," Business Insider, July 30, 2019; “Kainos Co-Founder Says Colleagues Illegally Took Her Ownership Stake," The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2019; “Fundraising Cooled in 2018 as Megafunds Took a Bigger Slice of the Pie,” The Wall Street Journal, January 7, 2019; and “Davis Polk Hires Michael Hong in New York,” Hedge Fund Law Report, May 31, 2018. 


Mr. Hong has been recognized as a leading fund formation lawyer in various industry publications:

  • Private Funds Management Magazine – One of the “30 Most Influential Private Equity Lawyers Under the Age of 40” stating, “[w]hen a big fund is being marketed, don't be shocked to find Michael Hong as part of the process.”
  • Chambers USA
    • Clients comment: "He has a lot of market knowledge, is very practical and has a lot of experience" and provides “great service to his clients.”
  • The Legal 500 U.S. – One of a select few “Next Generation Lawyers”: Investment Fund Formation and Management
  • IFLR1000 – "Highly Regarded," Private Equity, Private Equity Funds and Investment Management
  • Who’s Who Legal – Described as “a much-respected and energetic lawyer”
  • Super Lawyers – “New York Metro Rising Star”
  • Lawdragon – “Insights: Private Funds”

Of Note

  • Partnership for New York City, David Rockefeller Fellow, 2018-19
  • Member, Committee on Private Investment Funds, New York City Bar
  • Member, University of Toronto Faculty of Law Alumni Association
Speaking Engagements
  • Moderator, “Fund Counsel as an Extension of Investor Relations,” Private Equity International’s 2020 Investor Relations, Marketing & Communications Virtual Forum
  • Speaker, "Lay of the land - The Changing U.S. Regulatory Landscape" 2020 Maples Investment Funds Forum in the Cayman Islands
  • Speaker, "General Partner Arrangements: Succession Planning and Hot Topics," Practising Law Institute’s 2019 20th Annual Private Equity Forum
  • Speaker, "Investing Responsibly in Today's Society," 2019 Maples Investment Funds Forum in the Cayman Islands
  • Speaker, "Trends in Private Equity Fund Investments," American College of Investment Counsel's Spring Investment Forum 2019
  • Speaker, “Sponsor-Led Fund Restructurings,” Practising Law Institute’s Nineteenth Annual Private Equity Forum 2018
  • Annual IBA/ABA International Conference on Private Investment Funds in London, England, topics ranging from the multijurisdictional fiduciary obligations of fund managers to current trends in marketing and private equity
  • Speaker, “Delaware Law Developments 2013: What All Business Lawyers Need to Know,” Practising Law Institute

Mr. Hong is also frequently asked by in-house legal departments to present on special topics


Mr. Hong is also a contributor to comment letters on behalf of the American Investment Committee.

Professional History

  • Partner, Davis Polk, 2018-present
  • Partner, Paul, Weiss, 2013-2018
  • Associate, Paul, Weiss, 2004-2013

Practice Focus

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York


  • B.Com., University of Toronto, 2000
    • with high distinction
  • J.D., University of Toronto Faculty of Law, 2004
    • Gerald W. Schwartz Gold Medal
  • M.B.A., University of Toronto, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, 2004