Denise M. Grant: Understanding Her Clients’ Needs & Businesses

by LP Green, II

Widely recognized as a leading finance lawyer and sought out advisor to multinational corporations, financial institutions, multilaterals and export credit agencies, Denise Grant understands that a broad perspective and thorough understanding of her clients’ needs and business are key to excellent client service. A senior partner with over 25 years of experience, Denise advises on complex, cross-border, acquisition financings, corporate restructuring, project finance transactions and other domestic and international private financing activities, with a focus in Latin America.

Over the course of her career, Denise also has played an integral part in the Latin American bank finance market, representing Latin American corporates and international financial institutions operating in the region, which was once considered ‘an emerging market’ that has now truly “emerged.” An early trailblazer in the region, she continues to take the lead advising on internationally syndicated financings and is proud to have witnessed and contributed to the evolution of transactions and players in that region as a growing number of Latin American corporates acquire assets not just within their jurisdictions, but within the region and globally.  A recent example of her specialty in Latin American cross-border financing transactions includes a key role advising on the financing of Mexican oil & gas company Vista Oil & Gas’ acquisition of a fully operational oil & gas platform in Argentina from Pampa Energía S.A. and Pluspetrol, which resulted in the fifth largest oil producer in Argentina. She also has a vibrant domestic finance practice, representing U.S. multinationals such as Viacom, American Axle and Glatfelter.

As the daughter of a diplomat and originally from Guyana, Denise grew up around the world and came to the United States with her family when her father was appointed as Guyana’s Ambassador to the U.S. Following her diplomatic roots, she studied International Relations at George Washington University, attended Georgetown University Law School, and thereafter joined Shearman & Sterling as an associate. With her background in international relations and Shearman & Sterling’s strong platform in Latin America, Denise found her passion in practicing law on cross-border transactions in the region from which she hails.

As the first Black partner in Shearman & Sterling’s then 125- year history, Denise has been a mentor, sponsor, advocate and role model for those practicing or seeking a career in law. She encourages her peers and colleagues to promote diversity and open doors to help usher in the next generation of advisors and innovative leaders. She continues to exemplify this as a chair of the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee which she helped to found as a third-year associate. She works diligently to support diversity throughout the firm and foster a culture of inclusion, emphasizing the importance of developing relationships and networking.  As a mentor, she candidly advises new lawyers to be proactive, raise their hands and seek out opportunities.

Denise continues to receive awards and accolades for her exemplary achievements both as a lawyer and an outstanding woman of color. Twice lauded as one of the “Most Influential Black Lawyers” by Savoy Magazine (2015 and 2018), Denise has also recently been named one of only five Tier 1 lawyers in Latin America-wide Banking & Finance by Chambers & Partners and one of only 10 “Leading Lawyers” in Banking & Finance by Legal 500 Latin America. She was also recently named a leading lawyer for financial and corporate law in IFLR1000 (2017), and was selected to The Legal 500 Private Practice Powerlist: Mexico Specialists in 2017 and 2018.

Passionate about supporting communities around the world, Denise is a staunch believer in pro bono work. She most recently worked on a large-scale project with Lawyers Without Borders, supporting wildlife crime prevention efforts in East Africa, including traveling to Kenya to train magistrates and prosecutors. Denise’s involvement in community service also includes serving on the board of The Pingry School, an independent day school in New Jersey, where she chairs the Pingry Strategic Planning Committee.

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