Legal Affairs Specialist, New York

Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund

Country: United States

City: New York

Office: UNICEF New York

Grade: P-4

Closing date: Wednesday, 8 September 2021

TA (5.5 months) Legal Affairs Specialist, P-4, OED, NYHQ, PAT 117529

Job no: 544109

Position type: Temporary Appointment

Location: United States Division/Equivalent: Executive Group

School/Unit: Executive Director’s Office

Department/Office: Off of Executive Director

Categories: Legal

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

The fundamental mission of UNICEF is to promote the rights of every child, everywhere, in everything the organization does in programs, in advocacy and in operations. The equity strategy, emphasizing the most disadvantaged and excluded children and families, translates this commitment to children’s rights into action. For UNICEF, equity means that all children have an opportunity to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. To the degree that any child has an unequal chance in life in its social, political, economic, civic and cultural dimensions her or his rights are violated. There is growing evidence that investing in the health, education and protection of a society’s most disadvantaged citizens addressing inequity not only will give all children the opportunity to fulfill their potential but also will lead to sustained growth and stability of countries. This is why the focus on equity is so vital. It accelerates progress towards realizing the human rights of all children, which is the universal mandate of UNICEF, as outlined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, while also supporting the equitable development of nations.

The Legal Affairs Specialist (P-4) reports to the Senior Legal Affairs Specialist (P-5). The position is in the Office of the Director and Chief Legal Counsel under the Office of the Executive Director, New York.

How can you make a difference?

Under the supervision of one of the Senior Legal Affairs Specialist, and as part of a dedicated team, the Legal Affairs Specialist will provide guidance and advice on 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.

Assist in advising and providing support on contracts and other legal instruments, agreements, and arrangements (including but not limited to funding agreements with donors and other international organizations).

Assist in advising on the legal dimensions of establishment, structure and implementation of UNICEF collaborations with external partners including but not limited to other UN organisations (including international financial institutions), civil society, and the private sector.

Assist in advising on the implementation of evolving programme initiatives, strategies and operational practices, from the legal perspective, focusing on innovations to facilitate more efficient creation of partnerships.

Assist in advising on the resolution of disputes, particularly those disputes involving possible liability for the Organisation.

Other duties as directed, which may include contributing to the review and design of new legal instruments, promoting knowledge of legal issues and instruments with the organization

Impact Results

(a) Describe the type of decisions regularly made and the impact of those decisions: Decisions that reflect poor judgment or knowledge can compromise the Organisation’s interests. Inaccurate or incomplete advice can lead to decisions that compromise the organisation’s interests. In the worst case, these can put the Organisation at risk.

(b) Describe the type of recommendations regularly made and why they are important: Recommendations relate to a wide range of organizational activities and interests, and concern, among other things, the interaction of the Organisation with governments and other major organisations. These recommendations can be a crucial factor in UNICEF’s decision-making.

(c) Describe the most damaging error(s) that could be made in the performance of the job, and their consequences: The position is an advisory and support function. Erroneous advice by the incumbent could cause the organisation to enter into commitments on the basis of incorrect opinions in law or fact, therefore exposing the organisation to potential liability and resulting in potential financial loss. This could ultimately affect the ability of the organization to be accountable to its stakeholders and result in loss of credibility as well as funding from member states and other donors, both public and private.

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

A post-graduate university law degree is required (for example. Ll. B post-graduate; Ll.M.; J.D.) in a relevant field of law (e.g. international law, commercial law); a first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Should have a minimum of eight (8) years‘ professional experience as a lawyer practicing in a relevant field including as in-house counsel, a law firm, a government and/or an international organization’s legal office. Prior experience in the UN system is an asset.

Fluency in English is required. Proficiency in Spanish and/or Portuguese is highly desirable.

For every Child, you demonstrate...

UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

The UNICEF competencies required for this post are...

Core Values






Core competencies

Nurtures, Leads and Manages People (3)

Demonstrates Self Awareness and Ethical Awareness (3)

Works Collaboratively with others (3)

Builds and Maintains Partnerships (3)

Innovates and Embraces Change (3)

Thinks and Acts Strategically (3)

Drive to achieve impactful results (3)

Manages ambiguity and complexity (3)

Functional Competencies:

Analyzing- III

Leading and Supervising

Formulating strategies and concepts - II

Relating and Networking - Il

Persuading and Influencing- Ill

Creating and Innovating - II


Thorough knowledge of international legal procedures and instruments

Excellent research, legal writing and drafting skills

Excellent verbal communication and negotiation skills

Client orientation; constructive approach to resolution of problems

Ability to work with utmost discretion in handing sensitive and confidential matters

Excellent interpersonal skills with staff at all levels

To view our competency framework, please visit here.

Click here to learn more about UNICEF’s values and competencies.

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 24 2021 Eastern Daylight Time Application close: Sep 07 2021 Eastern Daylight Time

Link to the organization’s job offer: