Shearman & Sterling Alumni Spotlight: Cissie Citardi, General Counsel & Partner, William Blair & Company

Published Date
Jan 30, 2024
Through the Alumni Spotlight series, you can meet a few of our distinguished alumni to learn how they leveraged their time at the firm to advance their careers and what advice they would give to those looking to have similar success.

Cissie Citardi, Shearman & Sterling Alumni, General Counsel and Partner, William Blair    Cissie Citardi

General Counsel & Partner,
William Blair & Company

Cissie Citardi ’01 (Finance Group and Real Estate, 2001–2006, New York City) studied Physical Chemistry and Law at the University of Sydney. She commenced her legal career at Herbert Smith Freehills (then Freehills Hollingdale and Page) and the Federal Court of Australia before being hired alongside more than a dozen other Australian lawyers at a Shearman & Sterling recruitment event in Sydney, Australia. She worked in the firm’s New York Real Estate and Finance teams for five years before moving on to Silver Point Capital and then PineBridge Investments. Now living in Chicago, she has remained in the financial services sector and works as General Counsel and Partner at William Blair.

What is your favorite memory or story from your time at Shearman & Sterling?

My Shearman story is intertwined with my move from Australia to New York. Shearman gave me the opportunity to start a career in the United States, and I am forever grateful for that. The first few years were a heady mix of hard work, big transactions, learning and friendship. Against the backdrop of going to work in New York City every day, this was a magical and exciting time.

What skills or capabilities did you gain from your time at the firm that prepared you for future roles?

The rigor of the training I received at Shearman taught me the importance of bringing careful analysis and rigor to every task, no matter how big or small it may seem. Taking the time to understand every issue from its foundation or what it takes to perfect a piece of work has allowed me to build a broad skill set, be prepared for what comes next and ultimately gave me a strong platform to build toward future success.

What has been your career journey since leaving Shearman & Sterling?

Since leaving Shearman, my career has been largely focused on in-house legal work in financial services, and in more recent years, this has been as a General Counsel. During my tenure at Shearman, I became interested in in-house work. I joined Silver Point Capital in Greenwich, Connecticut, where I was able to utilize my Shearman experience working on a large number of private capital transactions. After a period of time, I realized I wanted to broaden my scope and joined PineBridge Investments in 2010. I recognized this as an occasion to join a growing organization where there would be significant opportunity to try new things and develop a wider skill set. I had a wonderful 10-year career at PineBridge, including serving as their General Counsel. In 2020, I made the decision to join William Blair, an independent and employee-owned firm with expertise in investment banking, investment management, private wealth management, institutional sales and trading and equity research. We are a global boutique, headquartered in Chicago. I oversee legal, compliance, risk, audit and information security and sit on our firm’s Executive Committee.

Tell us about your current job. What do you enjoy most about your work?

Easy to say but true, is that what I enjoy most are my colleagues at William Blair. We have an exceptional culture that seeks excellence in everything we do and empowers success for our clients. The caliber and commitment of my colleagues inspires me to be the best I can be. In terms of my specific role, I love the variety of the work I do. No two days are the same, and I have the opportunity to be involved in both our greatest successes as well as our greatest challenges.

What advice would you give to someone looking to have a similar career path?

A good General Counsel needs to be a business leader and adviser, as well as a good attorney. To do this you need to understand as many aspects as possible of what it takes to run a business. I believe one of the best ways to build this experience is to accept every opportunity and assignment that comes your way, including, or even especially, the ones that seem off the beaten track. You will be surprised at how useful this will be in future!

Content Disclaimer
This content was originally published by Shearman & Sterling before the A&O Shearman merger