Legal Specialist - Commercial Law

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UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services

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Application deadline in 2 days: Monday 4 Dec 2023 at 23:59 UTC

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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 we can quickly respond to our partners' needs while offering the benefits of economies of scale.

Compliance with certain legal requirements is crucial for effectively implementing UNOPS activities, managing parties’ expectations and understanding of their respective rights and obligations, as well as managing UNOPS risks and protecting 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.

Among others, the Legal Group is responsible to provide legal advice and support relating to UNOPS operations, in particular in relation to engagements (i.e. project/funding agreements), partnerships, procurement and grant support.

Functional Responsibilities

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. These responsibilities will be as follows:

Operational support

  • Provides legal advice and support related to UNOPS operations (in particular in relation to engagements, partnerships, procurement and grant support);
  • Drafts, reviews, and negotiates legal agreements, including template and model agreements (in particular engagements and partnership agreements), between UNOPS and its partners;
  • Provides support in developing solutions to address ad hoc and specific legal issues that may come up in relation to UNOPS operations;
  • Advises on routine matters relating to the privileges and immunities of UNOPS in the context of UNOPS operations;

Support to Policy Development and implementation

  • Provides inputs into the development or revisions of UNOPS policies (in particular in relation to engagements, partnerships, procurement and grant support);
  • Maintain a list of recurring issues and lessons learned and provide the policy groups with feedback regarding their policies on a regular basis;
  • Provide support with the interpretation of policies as need be;

Knowledge Management

  • Contribute to the development and maintenance of the Legal Group’s knowledge management internal and external resources;
  • Provides support in developing legal training and other knowledge management materials relating to legal aspects of UNOPS operations;
  • Deliver onboarding sessions to new UNOPS lawyers and legal training to non-legal colleagues within UNOPS;

Support with other legal matters

  • As directed by his/her supervisor, provides assistance to other lawyers in the Legal Group in connection with other matters such as more complex privileges and immunities matters, commercial disputes, administrative law matters, 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;

  • A university degree (Bachelor’s degree or equivalent) in law (with 2 additional years of experience - see below) may be accepted in lieu of a 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 of experience as a lawyer (law firm or in-house counsel) in commercial and international law is required. Within those 5 years of experience, some experience in legal analysis, advice, research, and drafting of legal agreements is required;
  • Experience and knowledge at both policy and operational levels with a variety of relevant UN funding and/or operational agencies, donors, and international financing institutions is desired.


  • Fluency in written and oral English and Spanish (reading, speaking, and drafting) is required;
  • Knowledge of French would be an asset.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: ICA Contract level: I-ICA 2, ICS10 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 12 days ago - Updated 10 days ago - Source: