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Senior Legal Counsel


  • Organization: Gavi, Vaccine Alliance
  • Location: Geneva
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • Legal - International Law
  • Closing Date: Closed

Position title: Senior Legal Counsel

Location: Geneva

Purpose of the position: Under the direction of the Director, Legal, the Senior Legal Counsel provides legal advice in the areas of international administrative law, employment disputes and data protection matters. The Senior Legal Counsel will also provide legal advice on the commercial and programmatic aspects of Gavi’s operations

Department: Legal

Team: Legal

Reports to: Director, Legal

N° of positions supervised: N/A

Career step level: 4

We commit to fostering a just, equitable and diverse culture free from racism and discrimination in which all staff, partners and stakeholders feel empowered, safe and heard.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children's lives and protecting people's health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower-income countries. Gavi brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. Gavi uses innovative finance mechanisms, including co-financing by recipient countries, to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines. Since 2000, Gavi has contributed to the immunisation of nearly 1 billion children and the prevention of more than 16.2 million future deaths.


Gavi’s Legal Department is responsible for providing strategic legal services to the following: 

  • Gavi as a Swiss foundation with privileges and immunities of an international organisation in Switzerland;
  • Gavi as the foreign equivalent of a US public charity in the United States; and
  • International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm), a UK charity, which issues bonds in international capital markets to fund Gavi’s programmes.

Gavi’s Legal Department also provides legal advice on work continuing from the COVAX facility, which entailed a portfolio of agreements (and ensuing disputes) with over 150 governments and vaccine manufacturers, complex financing arrangements, the no-fault compensation programme and Humanitarian Buffer. 

The Senior Legal Counsel primarily advises on employment matters and data ownership and data protection matters, and will also provide legal advice on the commercial and programmatic aspects of Gavi’s operations.


The Senior Legal Counsel will be responsible for:

  • ·Advising on institutional matters, in consultation with external counsel as appropriate, by:
  • ·Reviewing formal complaints raised against Gavi staff members for alleged misconduct and providing legal and procedural advice on how to handle the matter.

    ·Assessing preliminary investigation reports to recommend appropriate action to senior management, ensuring that all procedural requirements are met regardless of the decision that is taken.

    ·Drafting pleadings on behalf of Gavi in grievance and appeals proceedings before the first-tier and appellate internal justice decision-making bodies.

    ·Drafting legal analyses (including risk assessments), conducting extensive and complex research on administrative law and personnel practices of international organisations, analysing jurisprudence of international organisations’ administrative tribunals.

    ·Drafting proposals for personnel-related policies, internal guidelines, information circulars and standard operational procedures.

    ·Providing legal advice and delivering internal trainings on procedural questions, interpretation of the staff rules and regulations and other legal provisions.

    ·In consultation with key stakeholders, formulating, implementing and delivering internal trainings on data ownership, personal data protection and privacy policies, with a view towards aligning with Gavi’s policies and procedures and international requirements and best practices.

  •       Drafting and negotiating agreements between Gavi and other international organisations, sovereigns, independent contractors and suppliers;
  •       Advising on and supporting the implementation of Gavi-funded programmes in countries and the application of Gavi programmatic policies;
  •       Preparing or reviewing grant agreements between the Gavi Alliance and its donors;
  •      Preparing or reviewing contracts for the acquisition of goods and services, advising on intellectual property and IT matters, and advising on activities related to Gavi’s investments;
  •       Preparing documents and supporting legal materials for the meetings of Gavi’s Board and its committees;
  •       Contributing to the knowledge management activities of Gavi’s Legal Team;
  •       Supporting the Director, Legal on specific matters as requested.

Note: The essential functions listed in this section are not exhaustive of the job responsibilities; other duties may be assigned consistently with the department needs.



  • Advanced university degree in law from an accredited law school. Specialisation in international administrative law is desirable. A first-level university degree in law from an accredited law school, in combination with an additional two years of qualifying experience, may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree;
  • Admission to practice law in at least one jurisdiction;

Work experience:

  • Minimum of 8 years of post-qualification and progressively responsible legal experience in a top-rated law firm and/or as an in-house counsel is required;
  • Minimum of 4 years of experience spent working on international administrative law and HR matters is required; alternatively, the candidate should have a demonstrable considerable interest in, and willingness to develop, expertise in this area;
  • Experience with commercial contracts and cross-border transactions is desirable;
  • Experience with data protection matters is highly desirable; alternatively, the candidate should have a considerable interest in and willingness to develop expertise in this area;
  • Experience in litigation is desirable;
  • Experience in handling conduct and discipline matters is desirable;
  • Experience before an international administrative tribunal is desirable.


  • Knowledge of the jurisprudence of international administrative tribunals is essential;
  • Trusted ability to collaborate in an international environment;
  • Ability to work on multiple projects simultaneously and maintain focus on priorities;
  • Ability to communicate effectively to a wide variety of audiences both within and outside Gavi;
  • Conscientiousness and efficiency in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results;
  • Sound judgment, initiative and discretion when handling confidential and sensitive material;
  • Impeccable drafting skills;
  • Excellent statistical and problem solving skills;
  • Ability to identify and explain complex issues;
  • Team player equally able to work autonomously;
  • Excellent interpersonal and diplomatic skills;
  • Integrity and principles-based work ethics;
  • Organised, thorough and detail-oriented;
  • Interest in public international law and/or health related development.


  • ·Excellent command of English language, including a demonstrated skill to draft and negotiate legal documents in English;    
  •        Ability to conduct legal work in French would be an asset.


  • Gavi secretariat, including the Human Resources and Audit and Investigations teams and other relevant colleagues for institutional matters, and colleagues across Gavi for other matters;
  • Gavi Alliance Partners, including UNICEF, WHO, donors, civil society, and academic institutions;
  • Implementing country governments;
  • Outside legal counsel.

If you wish to apply, please provide a cover letter and resume through our Careers webpage and apply by clicking on “Senior Legal Counsel”. Application deadline is 19 June 2024.

Please note that as a vaccine organisation and in order to provide a duty of care towards its employees, Gavi is requiring its new employees to confirm that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition for pursuing employment with us. You can find out more by visiting this link.

In support of Gavi’s commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, we hire globally and welcome applications regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, national origin, family status, sex, gender identity or expression, physical characteristics, race, religion, spirituality or sexual orientation. Gavi has zero tolerance towards sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and abuse as well as any form of discrimination or harassment. Everyone at Gavi is expected to conduct themselves with integrity and respect towards each other. Gavi is committed to creating a work environment that is safe and professional, therefore all selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference checks. Read more here.

Gavi brings together the public and private sectors to save lives and protect people’s health by increasing equitable and sustainable use of vaccines against 19 infectious diseases. You will be joining an organisation at the centre of the international COVID-19 response, at the most critical time in global health in a lifetime. You will work in a culturally diverse environment with over 70 nationalities. You will collaborate with partners such as WHO, UNICEF, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank – and from business, civil society and government. And you will work in the first global health organisation to receive equal gender salary certification. Your unique experience, skills and talents can help us achieve our vision of leaving no one behind without the life-saving power of vaccines.  

Become part of our community and join us on Facebook and Twitter for updates about our mission to save children’s lives! You can also follow our hashtag #vaccineswork.

This vacancy is now closed.