Legal Assistant, GS-7, Office of Executive Director, New York, USA

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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, dedication 

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 clients to anticipate trends and challenges and develop systemic solutions; and we protect UNICEF by identifying legal, reputational and other risks, and helping to mitigate those risks. Our lawyers are based in several UNICEF locations, including New York Headquarters, and in several other outposts, including Geneva, Copenhagen and Brussels and may expand to new locations in Asia.

How can you make a difference? 

We seek to hire a Legal Assistant under a fixed term appointment to join the Legal Office team in New York Headquarters. The initial appointment will be for two years, with the possibility of extension. 

The Legal Assistant in New York will support the whole legal team, including through (a) assisting on a broad spectrum of legal matters ranging from commercial contracts to partnerships, disputes, programmes, and institutional matters, (b) preparing of legal documentation and (c) case and client management.

The Legal Assistant in New York will report to the Sr Legal Affairs Specialist New York, who reports to the Chief Legal Counsel.

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 Assistant is expected to perform the functions of the role in close collaboration with all the team members, under the supervision of the Senior Legal Affairs Specialist.

Key functions, accountabilities and tasks:

  • Assist in the initial receipt and triage of client requests, including conducting research, investigating facts, liaising with client offices and divisions, and utilizing the Legal Office intranet, to ensure the effective and efficient handling of requests for legal advice.
  • Draft, edit and conduct final check for accuracy of a variety of specialized legal documentation and related correspondence.
  • Assist in the maintenance of a body of legal reference files (using the Legal Office’s docket system on Sharepoint) to ensure rapid retrieval of critical information; conduct reference searches upon request; review material and determines appropriate file classification category; identify material for inclusion in files; coordinates on retirement, storage and retrieval of files; participate in initiatives to enhance existing systems for records management and retrieval, including development of proposals for consideration and implementing any initiatives that are adopted by the senior management of the Legal Office.
  • Assist in the ongoing maintenance, development and improvement of the Legal intranet, including liaising with topic-specific lawyers and conducting independent research.
  • Maintain internal databases on cases for tracking and trend analysis; generate a variety of standard and non-standard statistical and other reports; assist with visualizations and updating information material such as web pages and the Legal Intranet.
  • Assist with the collection and analysis of data as well as preparation of data presentations and reports for information sharing, responding to queries, knowledge management, planning and decision making.
  • Independently handle a variety of relatively complex verbal and written inquiries from internal and external parties, including providing detailed information on Legal Office processes and procedures related to a range of legal activities, instruments, issues, etc.
  • Service Legal Office meetings, including assisting in the preparation of pre-, in- and post- meeting documentation, including summaries, tracks status of meetings and monitors follow-up actions.
  • Take on other tasks and duties as required.

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

The following minimum requirements:


  • A minimum of a high-school diploma or equivalent, supplemented by specialized training or technical courses related to the scope of the job description.

A bachelor’s degree from a recognized academic institution in a field relevant to the position may replace three years of related work experience. A master’s degree may replace an additional two years.

Work Experience: 

  • A minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible experience in paralegal work or otherwise supporting the work of a legal team is required.


  • A constructive and client-oriented approach to resolution of problems is required 
  • Excellent skills using appropriate software tools (MS Office Suite, Sharepoint, Adobe Acrobat Pro, Power BI) are required. 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including interpersonal skills with staff at all levels, and the ability to work with utmost discretion in handling sensitive and confidential matters are required 

Language Requirements: 

  • Fluency in English is required. 

The following desirables:

  • A first-level university degree in law or the humanities is desirable. 
  • Developing country work experience and/or familiarity with emergency
  • Experience in a law firm or in the legal office of an international organization is highly desirable. 
  • Knowledge of the legal framework of the United Nations/UNICEF is desirable 
  • Proficiency in another language, particularly one of the other official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish) is highly desirable

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 

Familiarize yourself with our competency framework and its different levels.

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, time off for breastfeeding purposes, 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.

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. 

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.

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.]

Additional information about working for UNICEF can be found here.

Advertised: 29 May 2024 Eastern Daylight Time
Deadline: 12 Jun 2024 Eastern Daylight Time

Apply now
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