Legal Officer, P-3

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United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (UNOLA)

Position description

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the General Legal Division of the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA). The Legal Officer reports to the Senior Legal Officer, the Principal Legal Officer and the Director of the General Legal Division.


Within delegated authority the Legal Officer may be responsible for the following duties:

  • Provides advice on legal aspects of the investment activities of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund (UNJSPF) where required, including the negotiation of agreements and documents relating to the investment of multiple classes of assets in global public and private markets, as well as associated custody, advisory and other related arrangements.
  • Provides legal advice on the interpretation of legal instruments and legislation (as applicable) as well as UN and UNJSPF regulations, rules, and policies.
  • Provides legal advice on diverse substantive and procedural questions of considerable complexity, which may include those related to administration and management, institutions support, procurement and contracts, peacekeeping and other operational matters, separately administered programmes and funds, etc., in consultation with senior Legal Officers.
  • Conducts extensive legal research and analysis and prepares legal opinions, studies, briefs, reports and correspondence; provides legal advice to the unit/division.
  • Undertakes basic or extensive review of legal documents, instruments, or other material.
  • Prepares or assists in advising on and drafts and negotiates complex contracts, agreements, institutional and operational modalities, or legal motions/submissions and other legal documents; develops new legal modalities to meet unique needs/circumstances.
  • Provides advice and support on the Organization’s procurement activities, both at Headquarters and Offices away from Headquarters and the field, including on procurement relating to logistical support requirements for United Nations peacekeeping and other missions.
  • Advises on and participates in negotiations and settlement of claims and disputes arising out of procurement and claims from third parties.
  • Assists in representing the Organization before arbitral and other tribunals or administrative proceedings, including disciplinary cases and staff appeals.
  • Contributes to the provision of legal advice on review and design of new, or new applications of, legal instruments, policy, guideline, etc.
  • Provides legal advice on the interpretation and application of financial regulations and rules, and staff regulations and rules, including the review of administrative decisions; prepares draft amendments to the financial regulations and rules and staff regulations and rules; reviews draft administrative issuances or amendments thereto and verifies their consistency with the existing financial regulations and rules and/or staff regulation and rules; prepares analyses and evaluations of human resources and other policies and practices.
  • Serves on various standing boards, committees, ad hoc working groups and task forces, as required; Prepares or assists with the representing the organization at meetings, conferences, seminars, etc.
  • Provides guidance to more junior staff.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


  • Professionalism: Knowledge of, and ability to apply, legal principles, concepts and procedures and terminology for review, examination, and processing of a range of legal documents. Knowledge of various legal research sources, including electronic, and ability to conduct research and analyze information on a wide range of legal issues. Knowledge of international law, including the privileges and immunities of international organizations, in particular the United Nations. Ability to interpret and apply legislative instruments, develop and present results, recommendations, and opinions clearly and concisely. Ability to apply legal expertise to analyzing a diverse range of complex and unusual legal issues and problems and in developing innovative and creative solutions. Strong analytical skills and ability to conduct comprehensive legal research on a range of issues, including those of a unique and/or complex nature. Ability to draft legal papers and work under pressure. Strong negotiating skills and ability to influence others to reach agreement. Ability to work to tight deadlines and handle multiple concurrent project/cases. Knowledge of contemporary international relations and of UN system, organization and interrelationships. Ability to apply good legal judgment in the context of assignments given. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.
  • Teamwork: Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.
  • Planning& Organizing: Develops clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies; identifies priority activities and assignments; adjusts priorities as required; allocates appropriate amount of time and resources for completing work; foresees risks and allows for contingencies when planning; monitors and adjusts plans and actions as necessary; uses time efficiently.


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in law is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. Admission to the practice of law in a Member State of the United Nations is require

Work Experience

  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible experience in commercial law, including legal analysis, research, writing, and drafting and negotiation of complex contracts, obtained either in the legal office of an international intergovernmental organization, a law firm or the legal office of a government is required.
  • Experience providing comprehensive general legal services on commercial matters to an international organization is desirable.
  • Experience in working with the status and the privileges and immunities of international organizations is desirable.
  • Experience providing legal advice to institutional investors is desirable.
  • Experience providing legal advice on private markets investment transactions representing limited partners and/or fund managers is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is an advantage.


Application instructions

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