Legal Officer, P-3

United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (UNOLA)
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Nov 13

Position description

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Office of the Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs. The Legal Officer reports to the Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs through a Senior Legal Officer.


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

  • Handles a range of issues related to public international law, including the interpretation and application of constitutive, legislative, procedural and other instruments governing United Nations activities and operations, in consultation with a Senior Legal Officer.
  • Prepares or assists in the preparation of advice to the Secretary-General, the Organization’s political organs and other Secretariat units and the Organization’s offices, programmes and funds on the interpretation and implementation of the Relationship Agreement between the United Nations and the International Criminal Court and related resolutions of the General Assembly.
  • Advises and assists other Secretariat units and the Organization's peacekeeping operations, its special political missions and its offices, programmes and funds in the handling of requests from the International Criminal Court for cooperation and support, including requests for the sharing of information and evidence, for the interview or testimony of UN personnel and for the provision of administrative, logistical and security-related assistance and support.
  • Drafts and negotiates agreements with the International Criminal Court setting out detailed arrangements for cooperation with the Court by the Secretariat and by the Organization’s peacekeeping operations, special political missions and offices, programmes and funds.
  • Conducts extensive legal research and analysis and prepares studies, briefs, reports and correspondence.
  • Undertakes review of legal documents, instruments, or other material; identifies important issues, similarities, and inconsistencies, etc.
  • Prepares or assists in the preparation of drafts of background papers, studies, reports, legislative texts and commentaries on those texts.
  • Prepares or assists in the preparation of legal opinions/advice on a wide range of public international law issues, including the United Nations Charter and General Assembly and Security Council resolutions and decisions involving, inter alia, issues relating to privileges and immunities, institutional questions, peacekeeping, international criminal law, treaty law and practice, procedural issues arising during meetings of United Nations organs and conferences and the constitutional law of the Organization.
  • Prepares or assists in the preparation of agreements with governments and international organizations, as well as in the negotiation and settlement of claims and disputes.
  • Services or assists senior colleagues in servicing diplomatic conferences, commissions, committees, task forces, expert groups and other bodies, including preparation of background materials, summaries of issues and views of delegations, meeting reports, etc.
  • Provides guidance to more junior staff.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.


  • PROFESSIONALISM: Extensive knowledge of public international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international criminal law and procedure, the law of privileges and immunities and the law of peacekeeping operations; Familiarity with the institutions and organization of the United Nations system; Sound knowledge of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; Analytical skills and ability to conduct legal research on a range of relatively complex and intricate issues; Proficiency in legal drafting and ability to draft clearly and well under time pressure; Ability to apply good legal judgment in the context of assignments given. Negotiating skills; 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.
  • COMMUNICATION: Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; Asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; Tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; Demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.
  • CLIENT ORIENTATION: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be "clients" and seeks to see things from clients' point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients' environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.


  • An advanced university degree (Master's degree or equivalent degree) in public international law is required. A first-level university degree in law in combination with two additional years of qualifying work experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

  • A minimum of five years of progressively responsible professional experience in law, including legal analysis, research and writing, is required.
  • At least two years of professional experience as a lawyer in the legal office of an intergovernmental organization or government ministry or department are required.
  • Professional legal experience advising on issues of international legal cooperation in criminal matters is desirable.
  • Professional legal experience advising on issues of public international law relating to international peacekeeping operations is desirable.
  • Professional legal experience advising on questions of international humanitarian law is desirable.


  • English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For this post, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another UN official language is an advantage.

Application instructions

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