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Senior Legal Officer, P-5
DATE OF ISSUANCE:   28 Jun 2012
ORGANIZATIONAL UNIT:   Field Missions Administered by DPKO
DUTY STATION:   Multiple D/S

This Generic Job Opening is issued for roster purposes. Successful candidates will be placed on a roster for potential consideration for future United Nations Secretariat job openings with the same function at the same level in multiple duty stations. Placement on the roster does not guarantee employment with the United Nations.
Depending on professional background, experience and family situation, a competitive compensation and benefits package is offered.
More Info

United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity
Under the overall supervision of the Head of Mission (HOM) or the Legal Adviser (as applicable), and within the limits of delegated authority, the Senior Legal Officer will be responsible for, but not limited to, the performance of the following duties: Provide legal advice on all aspects of the United Nations operation’s mandate as well as on issues of constitutional and other national law as they affect the implementation of the mandate; Provide legal advice and expertise on all aspects of the Mission’s operations, including issues related to military operations, the administration of justice, institutional and electoral issues, constitutional law, police powers, human rights and civil liberties, disarmament and humanitarian questions, as well as on the legal status of the Mission and its members; Advise on administrative, personnel and contractual matters related to the Mission’s operational activities, including in areas such as privileges and immunities, the Status of Forces Agreement, procurement matters, third party claims against the UN operation, as well as any legal questions involving the interpretation or application of UN regulations and rules; Provide advice on and, as appropriate, supervise and oversee the review, negotiation and drafting of major contracts, agreements, institutional and operational modalities, legal submissions and other legal documents; Establish, liaise and maintain good working relations with government officials (ministries, authorities and agencies) in the Mission area on matters related to the implementation of the Mission’s mandate, including the implementation of any agreements and other arrangements with the host Government; Liaise with other UN agencies, funds and programmes, as well as regional and sub-regional actors and organizations, and with the diplomatic community in the Mission area, as appropriate, and consult with UN Headquarters, as required; Review the Mission’s inputs to the UN Secretary-General’s reports to the Security Council, as well as briefings to the Security Council and other such documents as they pertain to legal matters; Represent the Mission at international, regional or national meetings; Serve on various standing boards, committees, ad hoc working groups and task forces, as required; As applicable, formulate the Legal Office’s overall strategies and policies in coordination with other Mission offices; Implement the Legal Office’s work plan, including through managing recruitment, staffing and other administrative/budgetary activities; Supervise the substantive output of more junior legal officers; Perform other duties as required.

Professionalism - Expert knowledge of legal affairs in general and in the specific areas being supervised; demonstrated in-depth understanding of peacekeeping operations; substantial and diverse experience in all facets of the job; in-depth theoretical knowledge, including knowledge of international legal procedures and instruments, and extensive, broad-based experience in applying legal expertise to analyzing a diverse range of highly-complex and unique legal issues and problems and in developing innovative and creative solutions; strong analytical and evaluative skills combined with sound judgment and decision-making skills; proven ability to review and edit the work of others; diplomacy, resourcefulness and tact; commitment to implementing the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of peace operations. Leadership - Demonstrated intellectual leadership and ability to integrate knowledge with broader strategic, policy and operational objectives; ability to provide managerial leadership in overseeing work of more junior staff and local experts; ability to generate and communicate organizational direction as well as introduce and emphasize UN policies into the dialogue; ability to coach, mentor and assist staff to develop professionally; ability to delegate appropriate responsibility; demonstrated ability to provide leadership; proven commitment to incorporating gender perspectives into substantive work and to the goal of achieving gender balance in staffing. Judgment/Decision-making - Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary. Client Orientation - Ability to identify clients' needs and develop appropriate solutions; ability to establish and maintain productive partnerships with clients; discretion in handling major legal issues. Communication - Excellent and effective communication (verbal and written) skills, including ability to make and defend recommendations; ability to explain difficult issues; ability to persuade people with varying points of view; ability to convey difficult issues and positions to senior officials; ability to prepare written reports and orally convey information in a clear, concise, accurate and meaningful manner; superior skills in legal writing and expression and ability to independently prepare legal papers.


Advanced university degree (Master's or equivalent) in law with a specialization in international, administrative, commercial and/or criminal law required. A first level university degree in law with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience
At least 10 years of progressively responsible professional legal experience is required in the practice of law in the legal department of a government, an international organization, a government, or a law firm, with substantial experience in international, administrative, commercial and/or criminal law matters. At least 5 of the 10 years of experience are required to have been filled with the UN, a UN common system organization or other international intergovernmental organization. Field experience with a United Nations peacekeeping operation and a thorough knowledge of UN rules and procedures is highly desirable.

Fluency in English and/or French; knowledge of a second UN language is an advantage and sometimes a requirement. Fluency in the local language may be essential.

Other Skills

The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. (Charter of the United Nations - Chapter 3, article 8).   English and French are the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat.  The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.



How to apply

All applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online as soon as possible after the vacancy has been posted and well before the deadline stated in the vacancy announcement. Because applications submitted by United Nations (UN) staff members are considered first, provided the eligibility requirements set out in ST/AI/2006/3 are met and the application is submitted in a timely fashion, staff members should apply within 15-day or 30-day mark.

Online applications will be acknowledged where an email address has been provided. If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement within 24 hours of submission, your application may not have been received. In such cases, please go to “My UN” page and check the status of your application by clicking on “View Application History”, and resubmit the application, if necessary.
  1. To start the application process, applicants are required to register by opening a "My UN" account. Go to Login, and Register as a User. Fill in the form and choose a User Name and Password.

  2. After opening the account, applicants may apply for vacancies using the Personal History Profile (PHP) provided. Once the PHP has been completed for a particular vacancy, it can be saved and used for future applications. The PHP may be up-dated, when necessary, for future applications.

  3. In completing the PHP, please note that all fields marked with an asterisk must be completed.

  4. UN staff members must submit scanned copies of their two latest Performance Appraisal System (PAS) reports at the time of application to the appropriate Human Resources Office (HRO)/Personnel Office (PO) to the email address below, clearly indicating the vacancy announcement number. In case you have no access to the digitizing equipment, please submit hard copies of the two latest PAS reports to the relevant HRO/PO via fax.


Please see the Frequently Asked Questions, if you encounter problems when applying.