Legal Specialist, New York, United States

Organization: United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Country: United States

City: New York, USA

Office: UNOPS New York

Closing date: Monday, 7 June 2021

Legal Group

The purpose of the Legal Group is to lead the organization’s legal strategy and practice. The core functions of the Legal Practice Group are to: a. Articulate legal policies and processes; enable operationalization and managerial oversight through appropriate systems and reports; provide corporate advice and guidance; and strengthen the knowledge, skills and career development of legal practitioners.

b. Enable UNOPS legal and contracting activities to execute the organization’s business strategy.

UNOPS supports the successful implementation of its partners‘ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner. Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices, always satisfying or surpassing our partners‘ expectations. A flexible structure and global reach means that we can quickly respond to our partners‘ needs, while offering the benefits of economies of scale.

This position will report to the Corporate Legal Advisor and Head of the Commercial and Institutional Law Practice of the UNOPS Legal Group.

The primary responsibilities of the Legal Specialist will be to provide legal advice on commercial and institutional matters, to perform reviews of legal documents, and to support the Corporate Legal Advisor in the resolution of claims and disputes. The position will give exposure to a wide variety of types of work overseen by the UNOPS Legal Group.

1. Provides legal advice to UNOPS personnel, focusing on achievement of the following results:

Review and draft project agreements with various funding sources;
Handle claims and disputes;
Draft contracts and agreements to mitigate commercial risks, ensuring that organizational legal requirements and standards are met;
Support the negotiation of Host Country Agreements as requested by the Corporate Legal Advisor;
Under the guidance of the Corporate Legal Advisor, provide legal advice on the application of UNOPS Financial Rules and Regulations, in particular related to procurement and contracting;
Review and analyze various documents for the procurement process, assessing institutional risk;
Provide legal and procurement-related advice on institutional and commercial matters;
Provide advice on and/or development and institutionalization of new approaches and standards relevant to the legal practice;
Develop and maintain a system for keeping records of decisions made and actions taken.

2. Provides support to knowledge building and knowledge sharing, focusing on achievement of the following results:

Support the organization of training for UNOPS personnel on legal-related topics.

Contribute to knowledge networks and communities of practice.

Prepare summary of lessons learnt and best practices.

Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.

Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.

Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.

Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).

Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.

Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.

Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.

Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.


Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in law with 5 years of relevant experience.

Admission to the bar in a national jurisdiction is required.


Relevant experience is defined as experience as a lawyer/counselor in commercial or international law, including legal analysis, advice, research or drafting of legal texts.

Experience and knowledge at both policy and operational levels with a variety of relevant UN funding and/or operational agencies, bilateral donors and international financing institutions is desired.


Fluency in written and oral English (reading, speaking and reading) is required.

Knowledge of French is desirable.

Contract type: International Individual Contract AgreementContract level: IICA 2Contract duration: 7-months contract with possibility of extension, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:

Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time

Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.

Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.

Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.

Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types

For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post

For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.

The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns.

Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners‘ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners‘ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.


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