Legal Affairs Specialist o/p Geneva, P-3, Office of Executive Director, Geneva, PAT 110146

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UNICEF works in over 190 countries and territories to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and help them fulfill their potential, from early childhood through adolescence.

At UNICEF, we are committed, passionate, and proud of what we do. Promoting the rights of every child is not just a job – it is a calling.
UNICEF is a place where careers are built: we offer our staff diverse opportunities for personal and professional development that will help them develop a fulfilling career while delivering on a rewarding mission. We pride ourselves on a culture that helps staff thrive, coupled with an attractive compensation and benefits package.

Visit our website to learn more about what we do at UNICEF.

For every child, [insert tagline]

UNICEF’s Legal Office supports the organization’s business units around the world – our clients – by delivering strategic legal solutions through collaboration. We provide legal advice that is risk-informed, timely, responsive, and pragmatic. We empower clients and build their capacity to self-help. We proactively engage with to anticipate trends and challenges and develops systemic solutions, and we protect UNICEF by identifying legal, reputational and other risks, and helping to mitigate those risks. Our lawyers are located in several UNICEF locations, including Geneva where UNICEF’s Private Sector Fuyndraising and Partnerships (PFP) Division as well as its Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office are headquartered.

Our team in Geneva supports UNICEF’s PFP Division (as well as other business units globally) on a broad range of matters related to UNICEF’s private sector fundraising and partnerships function (as well as other functions) ranging from commercial contracts to data and digital, disputes, and institutional matters.

How can you make a difference?

We seek to hire a Legal Affairs Specialist under a fixed term appointment to join the Legal Office on a two year contract, with the possibility of extension.

Under the overall guidance of the Senior Legal Affairs Specialist in Geneva and the direct supervision of Legal Affairs Specialist in Geneva, the Legal Affairs Specialist will provide guidance and advice on private sector fundraising matters and private sector partnerships, data protection, digital products, as well as institutional and commercial procurement, donor agreements and contracts related to programme support and project implementation to ensure adherence to organizational financial, procurement, contracting and legal policies, rules and procedures; and to ensure that the organization is protected from legal exposure.

Members of the UNICEF Legal Office are expected to be open-minded and resourceful, responsive, and dynamic, transparent and approachable, and clear and authoritative. The overall direction of the Legal Office is set by the Chief Legal Counsel in New York.

The Legal Affairs Specialist will support more senior members of the Office in:


  1. Advising on the legal dimensions of establishment, structure and implementation of UNICEF collaborations with external partners including but not limited to the private sector, other UN organisations (including international financial institutions), and civil society and by developing draft agreements and term sheets, identifying risks and possible mitigation strategies, developing and supporting on negotiation strategies.
  2. Advising on commercial contract negotiations for the procurement of goods and services, including but not limited to, those relating to digital fundraising and digital products.


  1. Researching and advising in relation to negotiations with host governments in relation to UNICEF’s presence in country.
  2. Advising on the resolution of disputes, particularly those disputes involving possible liability for the Organisation (under the general guidance of the Chief Legal Counsel and Senior Legal Affairs Specialist).
  3. Advising on the legal interpretation of decisions, regulations, rules, policies, procedures, including but not limited to UNICEF’s Policy on Personal Data Protection & Privacy.
  4. Supporting the design and implementation of new and existing team management, knowledge sharing and professional development initiatives.
  5. Supporting the coordination of projects managed by the Office throughout their entire lifecycle, including design & planning, stakeholder engagement, monitoring & evaluation.
  6. Conducting other duties as directed.

    The Legal Affairs Specialist will be expected to:

    • Take ownership of matters; proactively highlighting potential issues and present possible solutions to more senior members of the Office. This involves taking ownership and having sense of accountability over your portfolio as a whole, consciously answering the need for creativity and resourcefulness in all situations (i.e. show initiative, be proactive, create and use networks, think outside the box). 
    • Support more senior members of the Office in taking leadership in action and being responsive with clients. This involves communicating with the client regularly, maintaining high levels of responsiveness to the client, keeping your supervisor regularly informed and seeking their input and guidance appropriately, managing the expectations of the client and knowing when to escalate.
    • Take charge – be responsible and be accountable, proactively seeking support of more senior members of the Office when needed. This involves:
      • taking a risk-based approach, prioritizing and, where matters warrant your investment, taking a forward-looking strategic approach – demonstrating coherence, rigor and thought over your matters;
      • being pro-active in stakeholder management, and following up on outstanding matters and queries;  
      • being resourceful, for example, use networks to unlock matters. 

    Exercise good judgement on emerging challenges, especially where there is a need to escalate so as to avoid or overcome an impasse and involve your supervisor in a timely manner

To qualify as an advocate for every child you will have…

The following minimum requirements:

Education: A minimum of a post-graduate university law degree (for example. LL. B post-graduate; LL.M.; J.D.) in a relevant field of law (e.g. international law, commercial law) or equivalent is required; or, at the discretion of the Director of the Legal Office, a first-level university degree in combination with an additional two years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree. .
Work Experience:  A minimum of five (5) years’ of progressively responsible experience in the practice of law in a relevant field is required (e.g. international law; commercial law).  Experience in a law firm, in private practice or as in-house counsel, or in an international organization (UN and international financial institutions, development banks, regional banks)  is highly desirable. .
Language Requirements: Fluency in English is required. Proficiency in another language, particularly one of the other official languages of the United Nations is highly desirable (Chinese, Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish) .

Other Competencies

  • A constructive and client-oriented approach to resolution of problems is required.
  • Excellent research, legal writing and drafting skills are required.
  • Excellent verbal communication and negotiation skills, excellent interpersonal skills with staff at all levels, and the ability to work with utmost discretion in handling sensitive and confidential matters are required.

The following desirables:

• Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency.
Language: Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) or a local language.

For every Child, you demonstrate…

UNICEF’s Core Values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust and Accountability and Sustainability (CRITAS) underpin everything we do and how we do it. Get acquainted with Our Values Charter: UNICEF Values

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are…

(1) Builds and maintains partnerships (2) Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness (3) Drive to achieve results for impact (4) Innovates and embraces change (5) Manages ambiguity and complexity (6) Thinks and acts strategically (7) Works collaboratively with others [add the 8th competency (Nurtures, leads and manages people) for a supervisory role]. 

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

[Remove below text if not a child safeguarding elevated risk role]

[If applicable] This position has been assessed as an elevated risk role for Child Safeguarding purposes as it is: a role with direct contact with children, works directly with children, or is a safeguarding response role. Additional vetting and assessment for elevated risk roles in child safeguarding (potentially including additional criminal background checks) apply.

UNICEF is here to serve the world’s most disadvantaged children and our global workforce must reflect the diversity of those children. The UNICEF family is committed to include everyone, irrespective of their race/ethnicity, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, socio-economic background, or any other personal characteristic.

We offer a wide range of benefits to our staff, including paid parental leave, breastfeeding breaks, and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities. UNICEF strongly encourages the use of flexible working arrangements.

UNICEF does not hire candidates who are married to children (persons under 18). UNICEF has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and UNICEF, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and discrimination. UNICEF is committed to promoting the protection and safeguarding of all children. All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks and will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles. Background checks will include the verification of academic credential(s) and employment history. Selected candidates may be required to provide additional information to conduct a background check.

UNICEF appointments are subject to medical clearance.  Issuance of a visa by the host country of the duty station is required for IP positions and will be facilitated by UNICEF. Appointments may also be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid). Should you be selected for a position with UNICEF, you either must be inoculated as required or receive a medical exemption from the relevant department of the UN. Otherwise, the selection will be canceled.


As per Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity.

UNICEF’s active commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to deliver the best results for children. For this position, eligible and suitable [Insert candidates from targeted underrepresented groups] are encouraged to apply.

[Remove the below text if not applicable]

Mobility is a condition of international professional employment with UNICEF and an underlying premise of the international civil service.

Government employees who are considered for employment with UNICEF are normally required to resign from their government positions before taking up an assignment with UNICEF. UNICEF reserves the right to withdraw an offer of appointment, without compensation, if a visa or medical clearance is not obtained, or necessary inoculation requirements are not met, within a reasonable period for any reason. 

[Remove and adapt the below text if not applicable]

[CO/ HQ specific: visa residence requirements: i.e.: UNICEF shall not facilitate the issuance of a visa and working authorization for candidates under consideration for positions at the national officer and general service category.]

UNICEF does not charge a processing fee at any stage of its recruitment, selection, and hiring processes (i.e., application stage, interview stage, validation stage, or appointment and training). UNICEF will not ask for applicants’ bank account information.

All UNICEF positions are advertised, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process. An internal candidate performing at the level of the post in the relevant functional area, or an internal/external candidate in the corresponding Talent Group, may be selected, if suitable for the post, without assessment of other candidates.

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

Advertised: 24 Apr 2024 W. Europe Daylight Time
Deadline: 15 May 2024 W. Europe Daylight Time

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