Global Excellence 2021

72 Acquisition International - Global Excellence 2021 6 Acquisit on International - Issue 9 2021 Jul21179 Leading the Progression of our Society A pioneering force in both the Italian and international legal sectors, Professor Sara Valaguzza is unmatched in her commitment to bettering society through law. Following her recent award for Most Influential Woman in Administrative Law 2021 – Italy, Professor Valaguzza tells us more about her journey so far and offers her insight on the future of public law. ased in the city of Milan, Studio Legale Valaguzza (SLV) is an experienced and innovative legal firm dedicated to supporting national and international clients through practical, creative and sustainable legal solutions. A multidisciplinary firm, SLV is highly specialised in matters pertaining to administrative and public law, public services, construction and infrastructures, grants and project financing, sustainable development, town-planning and urban regeneration programs. At its inception, however, SLV was a much smaller operation, powered by founder and well-established practitioner in the field of administrative law, Professor Sara Valaguzza, Attorney at Law. In the firm’s infancy, Valaguzza began as an advisor to the Municipality of Milan, working on a big infrastructural project in project financing related to an extension of the metro line Number 5, which spread all over this thriving city. Valaguzza’s work on this project proved pivotal, laying the foundations for the career to follow. “I studied every detail of procedures and contracts,” Valaguzza tells us, “I reviewed international best practice to use them; I knew almost every document by heart. Day after day I started thinking as a public official. “Now, I am perfectly aware of the strengths and weaknesses of public authorities as well as the ones of the businesses engaged in a public contract. It was a great opportunity that I used to the best I could.” Since then, SLV has seen significant and rapid growth, broadening its expertise and service offering around an approach that aims to guarantee excellence and innovation through a solid, creative, and sustainable practice, in order to fulfil the clients’ needs in a faster way. Working with public administrations, public owned companies or private subjects cooperating with public entities, SLV has been involved in major projects throughout Italy, especially within the strategic infrastructure sector which encompasses metro lines, gas distribution systems and waste treatment plants. For Valaguzza and her legal team, building partnerships between public administrations or public owned companies (subject to public rules) and private companies is essential to enhancing the performance of public interest in response to public need. B “A public lawyer can make the difference when they are able to provide the client with tailormade solutions exploiting all the positive interactions of the relevant strategic framework,” explains Valaguzza. “These solutions look for flexibility and efficacy on one hand, and comply with the general principles of the administrative law - neutrality, transparency, impartiality and advertising, on the other hand. “A precise knowledge of the relevant market is also required in order to ensure to the client the best possible solution.” Fortunately, SLV boasts unmatched legal expertise in its field, and constant development of this expertise is championed by Valaguzza. “In my mind, the law is an instrument for the progress of society and lawyers play a social role,” she explains. AFull Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Milan, Scientific Director of the Center of Construction Law & Management (CCLM), founding member and President of the European Association of Public-Private Partnership (EAPPP) and author of more than 50 scientific publications, Valaguzza’s passion and commitment to furthering legal expertise is clear. “We never stop doing legal research,” she states. “The academic profile and the practical one can benefit each other. My academic activity is strongly linked to SLV’s approach: the more I study, the better I solve complex problems. The more I teach, the better I update. A bit of sacrifice and a lot of passion. Continuous academic work makes us analyse problems in a very comprehensive dimension. As a lawyer, it is very important not to be satisfied with a single point of view.” At the moment, Valaguzza and SLV’s focus is on the current discussions surrounding administrative law and the implications of the ongoing economic crisis for both the theory of law and the practice. Today, public policies must evolve to become more efficient and more resilient. “Public administrations are also in a crucial position as they take the lead in the European economic recovery actions, under the Next Generation EU plan,” Valaguzza continues. “In this context, the administrative action shall be driven by the European sustainability targets, promoting environmental protection and inclusive policies, valorising young people and women. Legal instruments, in the field of administrative law, are crucial to achieving this result. I believe relevant efforts should be directed to create a faster and simpler public procurement framework.