Legal Specialist - Administrative Law

UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services

Open positions at UNOPS
Logo of UNOPS

Application deadline in 14 days: Monday 1 Jul 2024 at 23:59 UTC

Open application form


This is a IICA-2 contract. This kind of contract is known as International Individual Contractor Agreements. It is normally internationally recruited only. It's an external contract. It usually requires 5 years of experience, depending on education. More about IICA-2 contracts.

Background Information - Job-specific

UNOPS supports the 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.

Compliance with certain legal requirements is crucial for the effective implementation of UNOPS activities, to manage parties’ expectations and understanding of their respective rights and obligations, as well as to manage UNOPS risks and protect UNOPS in case of disputes and exposure to liability.

The Legal Group provides in-house legal advice and review of administrative law, institutional law and commercial law matters, reviewing UNOPS documents and agreements where required, and managing claims and disputes brought by or against UNOPS.

The Administrative Law unit of the Legal Group is responsible for:

  • Assisting the General Counsel in advising the Executive Director on misconduct cases, including the imposition of disciplinary and non-disciplinary measures; this includes managing the related disciplinary/administrative processes underpinning these measures such as the review of investigation reports and other findings by the Internal Audit and Investigations Group (IAIG) in relation to UNOPS personnel members, issuing charge letters and preparing recommendation memorandums;
  • Assisting the General Counsel in advising the Executive Director on the legality of contested administrative decisions (submitted through formal Management Evaluation Requests by members of UNOPS personnel);
  • Representing UNOPS in internal and external justice processes, including mediation proceedings, arbitration proceedings and proceedings before the UN Dispute Tribunal in regards to personnel disputes where personnel are contesting an administrative decision;
  • Preparing legal advice on administrative law matters including complex and sensitive cases involving the interpretation and application of personnel policies and personnel contractual terms;
  • Reviewing contract/agreements and templates for UNOPS personnel and third-party labour hire arrangements.

Under the direct supervision of the Legal Specialist from the Legal Group, as set out in more detail in section 2, the primary responsibilities of this role will be to provide legal advice and assistance related to the responsibilities of the Administrative Law unit. In carrying out his/her responsibilities, the Legal Specialist will be expected to work with a certain degree of autonomy and to interact directly with other UNOPS HQ units, project offices, partners and personnel.

This recruitment aims to fill an ongoing, full-time position based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Depending on actual needs, LG may decide to recruit endorsed qualified professionals for contracts with different working conditions (short/long term, part/full-time, retainer, regular or ongoing positions).

*** **Please note that this position requires the selected candidate to be based in Copenhagen. Mobility allowance/support may be provided to facilitate relocation to the duty station in accordance with UNOPS regulatory framework.**

Functional Responsibilities

Support in Policy Development

  • Contribute to the development or revisions of UNOPS policies in relation to UNOPS personnel and disciplinary measures.

Legal Advisory

  • Provides legal advice related to the administration and management of UNOPS (in particular in relation to personnel matters and the interpretation and application of UNOPS legal framework as it pertains to personnel).
  • Manages misconduct referrals received from the Internal Audits and Investigation Group ( IAIG) or the Ethics Office, including but not limited to reviewing investigation reports, drafting and issuing charge letters, and preparing recommendation memorandums on behalf of the General Counsel.
  • Conduct extensive legal research and analysis into UN Tribunal case law to assist management with ensuring management decisions are in line with the latest jurisprudence.
  • Review Management Evaluation Requests submitted by UNOPS personnel contesting an administrative decision, evaluating the contested decision, and advising the General Counsel on its legality; preparing draft response letters to such requests.
  • Provides support in developing solutions to address ad hoc and specific legal issues that may come up in relation to UNOPS personnel matters including personnel grievances.
  • Assists in representing UNOPS in mediation proceedings and in other personnel negotiations.
  • Drafts, reviews, and negotiates legal agreements pertaining to personnel arrangements.

Case Management

  • Prepares UNOPS’ submissions for proceedings before the UN Dispute Tribunal.

Knowledge Building and Knowledge Sharing

  • Develop and provide legal training and other knowledge management materials relating to the rights and obligations of UNOPS personnel, and legal aspects of UNOPS administration and management of personnel.
  • Collect and analyze data to identify trends or patterns and provide insights through graphs, charts, tables and reports using data visualization methods to enable data-driven planning, decision-making, presentation and reporting.
  • Within his/her field of expertise and as directed by his/her supervisor, provides assistance to other lawyers in the Legal Group in connection with other similar matters such as privileges and immunities matters and commercial disputes etc.


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. For people managers only: 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.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in law is required.
  • A university degree (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent) in law with 2 additional years of relevant professional experience will be accepted in lieu of the Master’s degree.
  • Satisfaction of all requirements to practice law in a national jurisdiction of a UN Member State is desirable.


  • At least five years (or more depending on academic credentials) of experience as a lawyer (law firm or in-house counsel) is required.
  • Experience in providing legal advice, conducting legal research, and drafting of legal agreements is required.

  • Experience in a legal office of an international organisation is desired.

  • Experience at the national or international level in administrative and employment or labour law is highly desirable.


  • Full domain of English is required.
  • Working knowledge of French and/or Spanish is highly desirable.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: ICA Contract level: I-ICA 2 Contract duration: Open-ended, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link:

Additional Information

  • Please note that UNOPS does not accept unsolicited resumes.
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted and advance to the next stage of the selection process, which involves various assessments.
  • UNOPS embraces diversity and is committed to equal employment opportunity. Our workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities. UNOPS seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce.
  • Qualified women and candidates from groups which are underrepresented in the UNOPS workforce are encouraged to apply. These include in particular candidates from racialized and/or indigenous groups, members of minority gender identities and sexual orientations, and people with disabilities.
  • We would like to ensure all candidates perform at their best during the assessment process. If you are shortlisted and require additional assistance to complete any assessment, including reasonable accommodation, please inform our human resources team when you receive an invitation.

Terms and Conditions

  • 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 (they take around 4 hours to complete) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS. For more information on a retainer contract here.
  • All UNOPS personnel are responsible for performing their duties in accordance with the UN Charter and UNOPS Policies and Instructions, as well as other relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, all personnel must demonstrate an understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a manner consistent with UN core values and the UN Common Agenda.
  • It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential personnel. Recruitment in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.
Added 6 days ago - Updated 5 hours ago - Source: