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Job Opening

Posting Title: Principal Legal Officer, D1
Job Code Title: PRINCIPAL LEGAL OFFICER
Department/Office: Office of Legal Affairs
Duty Station: NEW YORK
Posting Period: 11 January 2018 - 24 February 2018
Job Opening Number: 18-Legal Affairs-OLA-90389-R-New York (X)
Staffing Exercise N/A
United Nations Core Values: Integrity, Professionalism, Respect for Diversity

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located in the Office of the Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs. The incumbent reports to the Assistant-Secretary-General, Head of the Office of the Legal Counsel.

The overall objectives of this programme are to provide a unified central legal service for the Secretariat and the principal and other organs of the United Nations, to contribute to the progressive development and codification of international public and trade law, to promote the strengthening and development as well as the effective implementation of the international legal order for the seas and oceans, to register and publish treaties, and to perform the depositary functions of the Secretary-General.

Responsibilities

Under the direction of the Assistant-Secretary-General, the Principal Legal Officer:

•Leads, supervises and carries out the provision of legal advice for and support staff under his/her responsibility. Co-ordinates and oversees the preparation of legal advice, and opinions on complex legal questions, including questions involving public international law, and the law and practice of the Organization; counsels, acts for and, in major areas of a complex or novel nature, represents the Organization, including its subsidiary organs and separately administered funds and programmes and Offices in negotiations and before arbitral and administrative tribunals; deals with a wide range of multidisciplinary and complex legal matters that require an analysis of existing law and policies; provides assistance and advice in connection with the Organization’s accountability measures; formulates and negotiates solutions and alternatives to problems for which no precedents exist and which involve major questions of international law.

•Co-ordinates and oversees the preparation of reports for presentation to intergovernmental bodies, such as the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budget Questions, the General Assembly and other policy-making organs, as appropriate.

•Reports to intergovernmental bodies on budget/programme performance or on programmatic/ substantive issues, as appropriate, particularly those presented in biannual and/or annual reports.
•Ensures that the legal advice and support produced by the Office maintain high-quality standards, that such service and advice is clear, objective and based on comprehensive facts and legal analysis. Ensures that all legal services and advice produced by the lawyers and support staff under his/her supervision meet required standards before completion to ensure that they comply with the applicable legal framework of the United Nations.
•Assists the Assistant-Secretary-General in preparing the work programme of the Division, determining priorities, and allocating resources for the completion of outputs and their timely delivery.
•Undertakes or oversees the programmatic or administrative tasks necessary for the functioning of the Office, including preparation of budgets, reporting on budget and programme performance, evaluation of staff performance (PAS), interviews of candidates for job openings, evaluation of candidates and preparation of inputs for results-based budgeting.
•Recruits staff, taking due account of geographical and gender balance.
•Manages, guides, develops and trains staff under his/her supervision.
•Fosters teamwork and communication among staff in the Division and across the Organization, including its separately administered Funds, Programmes and Offices.
•Leads and supervises the organization of meetings or other seminars, etc., on substantive issues being addressed by the Division. Manages the substantive preparation and organization of such meetings or seminars.
•Participates in international, regional or national meetings and provides legal assistance or expertise on issue relating to the activities of the Organization, or holds programmatic/substantive and organizational discussions with representatives of other institutions, and represents the Division at international, regional or national meetings, as required.

Competencies

•Professionalism: In-depth knowledge of public international law and of the United Nations Charter and the law and practice of the United Nations including the law and legal regimes of its subsidiary organs. Comprehensive knowledge of UN policies, procedures and operations. Ability to conduct comprehensive, independent legal research. 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; and remains calm in stressful situations.

•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. Ability to draft quickly, to prepare written reports that are clear, concise and meaningful and to review the work of others. Ability to communicate complex concepts orally, to defend and explain difficult issues with respect to key decisions and positions to staff, senior officials and members of intergovernmental bodies.

•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.

•Leadership: Serves as a role model that other people want to follow: empowers others to translate vision into results; is proactive in developing strategies to accomplish objectives; establishes and maintains relationships with a broad range of people to understand needs and gain support; anticipates and resolves conflicts by pursuing mutually agreeable solutions; drives for change and improvements; does not accept the status quo; shows the courage to take unpopular stands. Provides leadership and takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work; demonstrates knowledge of strategies and commitment to the goal of 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 that the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.

Education

Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent degree) in public international law or the law of international organizations is required. A first level university degree in law with a relevant combination of academic qualifications and an additional two years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced degree.

Work Experience

At least 15 years of progressively responsible professional experience in public international law. Experience in providing legal services to an international organization is required. Experience supervising an office, unit or section is desirable. Experience overseeing programmatic/administrative tasks necessary to the functioning of a work unit, including the preparation of budgetary inputs, reports on budget/programme performance, evaluations of staff performance and input for results-based budgeting is desirable.

Languages

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

Assessment

Evaluation of qualified candidates may include an assessment exercise which may be followed by competency-based interview.

Special Notice

The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in its staff. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position.

Staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and to assignment by him or her. In this context, all staff are expected to move periodically to new functions in their careers in accordance with established rules and procedures.

An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential.

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of international human rights law, violations of international humanitarian law, sexual exploitation or sexual abuse, or crimes other than minor traffic offences, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places 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. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee

THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.

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