Chief Legal Counsel and Director, United States

Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund

Country: United States

City: New York, USA

Office: UNICEF New York

Grade: D-2

Closing date: Saturday, 29 August 2020

Chief Legal Counsel and Director, D-2, Office of the Executive Director

Job no: 533378

Position type: Fixed Term Appointment

Location: United States Division/Equivalent: Executive Group

School/Unit: Executive Director’s Office

Department/Office: Off of Executive Director

Categories: D-2, Senior Leadership Vacancies

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, every day, to build a better world for everyone.

And we never give up.

For every child, a commitment

Under the Direct supervision of the Executive Director, the Chief Legal Counsel/Director will provide strategic legal advice to the Executive Director that guides organizational priority setting and decision-making within the overall framework of the Sustainable Development Goals and UNICEF’s Strategic Plan, and in line with UNICEF’s mission and mandate as custodian of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. The Chief Legal Counsel/Director leads and ensures efficient and effective management of the Legal Office including its staff and financial resources. He/she works closely with the Deputy Executive Directors and the Global Management Team to ensure effective communication and information flow that facilitates smooth and predictable decision-making.

How can you make a difference?

Under the direct supervision of the Executive Director, the Chief Legal Counsel/Director has the overall responsibility for the following areas:

Strategic legal advice, guidance and counsel to the Executive Director and Senior Management Team;
Effective management of the Legal Office;
Keeping abreast of general conditions from legal perspective that affect all UNICEF offices/divisions, as well as the broader UN, and the specific issues that may have direct effect on UNICEF, and on the Office of the Executive Director in particular.

External representation with other legal entities at meetings with other United Nations entities, Members States and national authorities and institutions.

The key functions and accountabilities include:

Serves as the head of corporate legal office and is responsible for providing the highest quality legal analysis and advice to the Executive Director and the Senior Management Team on a wide range of complex and strategic issues in relation to UNICEF operations in Headquarters, Regional Offices, Country and Field Offices.

Leads the development of a corporate legal strategy that promotes and protects organizational interests. Provides strategic advice during senior-level negotiations of complex contracts, and other legal instruments, agreements and arrangement with external partners (including but not limited to other United Nations organizations), civil society and the private sector.

Provides leadership and advice towards ongoing alignment and implementation of evolving programme initiatives, strategies and operational practices, from the corporate and institutional perspective.

Identifies and implements innovative solutions and best practices that address the priorities of UNICEF and foster culture of knowledge sharing, innovation and collaboration. Provides leadership to the development of innovative and/or change management programmes.

Tags administrative law change management financial resources international law knowledge sharing law enforcement privileges and immunities public international law sustainable development sustainable development goals

Formulates and implements the substantive work programme of the Legal Office under his/her supervision, determining priorities, and allocating resources for the completion of outputs and their timely delivery. Plans and ensures timely performance planning, management and assessment of the team.

Leads a team of corporate counsels/legal specialists, and support staff. Monitors efficient use of resources, and ensuring compliance with established policies, rules and procedures.

Oversees and supports the effective, equitable and efficient operations of the office’s financial, human resource and administrative systems. Promotes team work to ensure harmonization, collaboration, linkages and synergy and ensures that staff members are provided sufficient information, guidance and support to perform their duties and deliver results.

Ensures that the outputs produced by the Legal Office maintain high-quality standards; that reports are clear, objective and based on comprehensive data. Ensures that all outputs produced meet required standards before completion to ensure they comply with the relevant mandates.

Represents UNICEF at international, regional, inter-agency meetings, seminars and conferences; provides programmatic/substantive expertise on legal issues, and/or holds programmatic/substantive and organizational discussions with representatives of other institutions. Serves as organization‘ s focal point for international tribunals and courts and law enforcement authorities globally.

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

An advanced university degree (Master’s or higher) in Law (LLM, or J.D) with specialization in public international law is required. National Bar Exam is considered an asset.

A minimum of 15 years of relevant professional managerial experience in a law function within the public, private and/or not-for-profit sector at both national and international levels. Strong understanding and knowledge of the United Nations system, including the privileges and immunities of international organizations, and international administrative law as practiced in international organizations is an asset.

Experience in a private practice or as in-house counsel in a large organization is desired.

An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential. Staff members appointed to the current position are required to submit a financial disclosure statement upon assignment or appointment and annually thereafter.

Excellent research, legal writing and drafting skills are required.

Fluency in English is required. Knowledge of another official UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) is an asset.

For every Child, you demonstrate...

UNICEF’s core values of: Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA), and core competencies in: Builds and maintains partnerships; Demonstrates self-awareness and ethical awareness; Drives to achieve results for impact; Innovates and embraces change; Nurtures, leads and manages people; Works collaboratively with others; Thinks and acts strategically; Manages ambiguity and complexity.

View our competency framework here:

Competency Framework Brochure.pdf

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages all candidates, irrespective of gender, nationality, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of the organization.

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 also adheres to strict child safeguarding principles. All selected candidates will be expected to adhere to these standards and principles and will therefore undergo rigorous reference and background checks. 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.


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

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process.

Advertised: Aug 07 2020 Eastern Daylight Time Application close: Aug 28 2020 Eastern Daylight Time