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31 January 20233 minute read

Benedetta Audia joins DLA Piper as chair of firm’s newly established International Development practice

DLA Piper is pleased to welcome Benedetta Audia as a New York-based partner and chair of the firm’s newly established International Development practice.

Bolstered by the firm’s sizeable Global Government Contracting and Procurement and International Trade practices, the International Development team led by Ms. Audia has experience in Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. The practice combines nuanced understanding of complex public procurement processes with behind-the-scenes experience to help guide private entities in partnerships with international development institutions such as the United Nations and the World Bank.

“United Nations system organizations procure tens of billions of dollars of goods and services from the private sector annually. Particularly, as the United Nations looks to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), their efforts to attract investment and innovation could create enormous opportunity for private sector businesses looking to diversify in new and emerging markets,” said Ms. Audia. “We will advise our government and private sector clients on innovative ways to structure project agreements while mitigating risks and ensuring development funds are used for their intended purpose.” 

For nearly two decades, Ms. Audia has worked for multilateral organizations overseeing the procurement processes underlying thousands of multimillion-dollar projects implemented in developing countries. She has traveled extensively to lead negotiations with high-level government officials and advised senior officials on complex strategic and legal matters. Ms. Audia has expansive knowledge and experience in procurement and grant disbursement modalities, including vendor sanctions, bid protests, contract awards and UN/WB general terms and conditions.

Leveraging her negotiating skills, Ms. Audia has settled major disputes between national governments, multilateral organizations, and private businesses, and been involved in complex arbitrations across a wide variety of sectors including infrastructure, procurement, health and environmental. She has drafted numerous policy documents and successfully negotiated global partnership and funding agreements with major donor governments and other funding sources covering voluntary contributions as well as multi-partner trust funds.

In addition, Ms. Audia has provided training to UN personnel and foreign government officials relating to the structure and the legal status of the UN and the privileges and immunities enjoyed by the UN and its officials. She speaks and writes regularly on topics related to public international law, procurement and blockchain. Ms. Audia is an Adjunct Professor of Public Procurement in International Development at George Washington University, an Adjunct Professor of Contracting in International Development at Fordham University and a Law Professor at LUISS Guido Carli University. She recently co-authored two books, one on the legal aspects of blockchain and one on global lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to welcome Benedetta to our firm,” said Frank Ryan, DLA Piper’s Americas chair, global co-chair and global co-CEO. “The International Development practice that she will lead will provide clients the ability to work with multilateral organizations at an unprecedented scale.”

“Benedetta brings a wealth of experience in the contracting and procurement processes of major international organizations,” said Edward "Smitty" Smith, chair of the firm’s Regulatory and Government Affairs practice. “Her specific legal knowledge and background will make an immediate impact on building out the firm’s presence in international development.”

“The New York office is excited to welcome Benedetta to the firm after an illustrious tenure dedicated to serving people in need. We look forward to supporting her as she builds out her practice in international development,” said Cara Edwards, managing partner of the firm’s New York office.