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Senior Legal Adviser for the Americas

Panama City

  • Organization: IFRC - International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Location: Panama City
  • Grade: Junior level - National Staff - Junior Level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2024-07-24

Organizational Context

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC or “the Federation”) is the world’s largest volunteer-based humanitarian network. The Federation is a membership organization established by and comprised of its 191 member National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (“National Societies”). Along with National Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Federation is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.  The overall aim of the IFRC is “to inspire, encourage, facilitate, and promote at all times all forms of humanitarian activities by National Societies with a view to preventing and alleviating human suffering and thereby contributing to the maintenance and promotion of human dignity and peace in the world.”  It works to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people before, during and after disasters, health emergencies and other crises.

The Federation is served by a Secretariat based in Geneva, with Regional and Country Delegations throughout the world. The Secretariat is led by the IFRC Secretary General and provides the central capacity of the Federation to serve, connect, and represent National Societies. The Secretariat’s focus includes providing support to the IFRC governance mechanisms; setting norms and standards; providing guidance; ensuring consistency, coordination, and accountability for performance; knowledge sharing; promoting collaboration within and respect for the RCRC Movement; and expanding engagement with partners. The Secretariat’s headquarters is organized in three main business groups: (i) Partnerships, including Movement and Membership; (ii) Programs and Operations; and (iii) Management. The Secretariat has five Regional Delegations as follows: Americas (Panama City); Africa (Nairobi); Asia and Pacific- AP (Kuala Lumpur); Europe (Budapest); Middle East and North Africa-MENA (Beirut).

The position of Senior Legal Adviser for the Americas is based in the Americas Regional Delegation in Panama City, Panama. The Senior Legal Adviser for the Americas reports to the Regional Head of Corporate Services with a technical reporting line to the Managing Legal Counsel, Partnerships, Programmes and Operations, Legal Department, Headquarters.

The Senior Legal Adviser for the Americas is a member of the Global Legal Team, which advises the organisation globally in the following areas:

  • Management of legal risks;
  • Compliance with applicable legal and regulatory framework; and
  • Support to member National Societies in their own legal risk management.

The Senior Legal Adviser for the Americas will primarily provide legal services to the Regional Delegation, Country Delegations, Country Cluster Support Delegations (CCST) and operations throughout the Americas Region.

The position requires travel in the Americas as the files dictate. 

Job Purpose

Under the technical guidance of the Managing Legal Counsel, Partnerships, Programmes and Operations, Legal Department, Headquarters, the Senior Legal Adviser for the Americas will:

  • Advise on and provide legal services regarding the organization’s activities and operations in the Americas Region, including to the Regional Delegation, Country and CCST Delegations at the technical and managerial levels, in relation to the management of legal risks in the areas of expertise mentioned below.
  • Provide legal advice principally on contracts, diplomatic law, employment law, administrative law of international organizations, public international law, and in general on all legal claims, commitments and liabilities of the organization in the Americas Region;
  • Support the development and use of the contract management system in the Americas Region; and
  • Proactively contribute to the development of the organization’s broader policy and legal services to its membership in the Americas Region.

Job Duties and Responsibilities

Under the technical guidance and supervision of the Managing Legal Counsel, Partnerships, Programmes and Operations, Legal Department, Headquarters, the Senior Legal Adviser is responsible for:

General advice and management of compliance obligations and legal risks for the Americas Region

  • Provide expert legal advice regarding the management of the legal risk for the organization in the Americas Region in a broad range of general legal issues and complex and sensitive legal matters;
  • Provide expert legal advice and guidance in the following areas, including in relation to the development and implementation of the Federation’s wide systems, procedures, policies and tools, which have an impact on the legal obligations and risks of the organization in the Americas Region:

Programmes and Operations - Emergencies

  • Provide legal advice and oversee the negotiation of a broad range of agreements and projects in particular in relation to Health and Care, Migration, and Cash programmes;
  • Provide legal advice on the legal structuring of deployment mechanisms of the IFRC;

Movement Coordination

  • Provide legal advice on Movement Coordination matters;

Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management

  • Provide legal advice to the Logistics, Procurement and Supply chain management (LPSCM), including for the fleet, for ensuring compliance with the Procurement policies, rules and regulations;

Security matters

  • Provide legal advice to the Security team in the Americas Region in relation to the duty of care owed to staff and related liabilities;

Legal Status of the Federation

  • Provide legal advice in relation to the IFRC’s legal status in the Americas Region and negotiation and drafting of status agreements, including enforcement of privileges, immunities and obligations of said agreements;

Partnerships

  • Provide legal advice on the structuring of IFRC’s activities, including complex grants or other relationships such as joint-ventures, partnerships coordination structures, and/or delegated functions;
  • Liaise with UN Agencies, other components of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, governmental and nongovernmental organizations and collaborate with them on legal matters;

Emblem and Logo

  • Provide legal advice on the rules and regulations pertaining to the Emblems and use of the Federation’s name and logo;

Labour, disciplinary and ethics matters

  • Provide legal advice on labour law, disciplinary and ethics matters including in particular to HR and senior management on individual case management, such as recruitment, performance reviews, misconducts, termination of contracts and other issues with potential legal implications;

Job Duties and Responsibilities (continued)

Fraud and investigation

  • Provide legal advice on general and specific requests regarding fraud, sexual exploitation and abuse and other types of allegations, investigations and their legal implications in the Region in liaison with the Office of Internal Audit and Investigations and the Managing Legal Counsel for Institutional Matters;

Case management: Handling of disputes (mediation, arbitration, litigation etc.) in which the Federation or its employees are a party in the Americas Region

  • Oversee all legal disputes in which the Federation or its employees are a party, including before national courts; Oversee all settlements;
  • Provide legal advice on referral of cases to national authorities and requests for information and/or cooperation from national authorities;
  • Provide legal advice on the waiver of privileges and immunities of the Federation and its staff;

Coordination of local counsels

  • Lead, select and coordinate the engagement and utilization of external legal counsel in the Americas Region;
  • Coordinate with local legal counsel in the Americas Region, ensuring conformity with applicable laws and alignment throughout the Region with IFRC’s legal framework and approach; and
  • Map and track all potential and ongoing cases within the Region.

Systems, policies and procedures

  • Proactively identify areas of improvement and provide legal advice in relation to the development and implementation of the IFRC’s systems, procedures, policies and tools, which have an impact on the legal obligations and risks of the organization; and
  • Lead and oversee the compliance with all legal policies, procedures, tools and systems, including the eContract system, the Federation contracting policy and the Contract Approval Matrix (CAM) in the Americas Region and ensure the dissemination of compliance and legal risks management good practices throughout the Americas Region.

Project management and change management

  • Manage legal projects as needed.

Training

  • Contribute to the development of training material and provide trainings to IFRC staff and National Societies legal advisers in the Americas Region on legal risks and compliance.

Support to Membership

  • Develop webinars, legal tools and legal services for National Societies in the Americas Region in coordination with the Global Legal Team;
  • Support the network of National Society legal advisers in the Region; and
  • Manage projects related to legal risk management and compliance for the National Societies in the Americas Region.

Other tasks

  • Monitor legal information and developments that are or may be applicable to the Federation and National Societies in the Americas Region; and
  • Perform any other job-related tasks as assigned by the Managing Legal Counsel, Partnerships, Programmes and Operations, Legal Department, Headquarters.

Education

Required

  • University degree in law
  • Bar membership or equivalent

Preferred

  • Specialized studies in public international law, international organization law, and/or management would be an asset.

Experience

Required

  • At least 5 years of prior experience in the practice of law
  • Experience in private practice and/or in-house corporate legal environment
  • Experience with contract management systems (CMS).
  • Sensitivity in and prior exposure to cross-cultural situations

Preferred

  • Field experience handling legal issues
  • Knowledge of the ILOAT case-law
  • Experience in dealing with outside counsel
  • Experience in working in a team environment, with remote team members
  • Red Cross/Red Crescent experience or other humanitarian/non for-profit experience would be an asset.

Knowledge, Skills and Languages

Required

  • Good judgment and ability to work with complete integrity and confidentiality
  • High degree of discretion, tact and sensitivity in dealing with internal and external clients and stakeholders at all levels
  • Excellent analytical skills
  • Excellent drafting skills
  • Professional work ethic
  • Knowledge of applicable legal and regulatory framework to international organizations
  • Training and coaching skills
  • General knowledge of international affairs.

Preferred

  • Ability to manage change projects (CMS)
  • Knowledge of the Red Cross and Red Crescent International Movement.

Required Languages

  • Fluently spoken and written English and Spanish

Preferred Languages

  • Good command of another IFRC official language (French or Arabic)

Competencies, Values and Comments

Core Competencies:

Communication, Collaboration and Teamwork; Judgement and Decision Making, National Society and Customer Relations, Creativity and Innovation, Building Trust.

Functional Competencies:

Strategic Orientation, Building Alliances, Empowering Others.

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