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  • Organization: UN WOMEN - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
  • Location: New York City
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
  • Closing Date: 2017-10-04

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Chief, Legal Unit

New York City (United States of America)


UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

Under the supervision of the Director of Management and Administration, the Chief, Legal Unit will provide high quality legal advice and support to the UN Women Executive Director, senior management, HQ units, country offices on a wide-range of multidisciplinary legal matters relating to the interpretation and application of international, public, private and administrative law, in the following broad areas:

  • Legal status, authorities, privileges and immunities, and relationships with UN Women Governing Bodies, Programme Country and Partner Governments;
  • Corporate, commercial and private law matters, including legal support to the Organization’s financial and procurement operations;
  • Administrative law matters relating to the Organization’s relationship with its staff members, including legal support to human resources management issues.

The Chief, Legal Unit will also lead and manage the Legal Unit in UN Women, and co-ordinate UN Women’s relationships with, and represent UN Women’s interests before, external entities, networks and bodies

Duties and Responsibilities

Provide the highest quality legal advice and support to the UN Women Executive Director and his/her senior management team, headquarters units, country offices, on legal and related policy matters

  • Provide legal advice on the interpretation and application of the rules of procedure of the UN Women Executive Board
  • Provide legal advice on issues relating to the status of the organization and privileges and immunities, to ensure respect for the privileges and immunities of UN Women, its officials and experts on mission;
  • Provide legal advice on the application of the Staff Regulations, Rules and the UN Women Financial Regulations and Rules;
  • Lead the preparation of legal opinions on cases involving unusual and/or complex legal issues, including cases for which no or few precedents exist.

Provide the highest quality legal advice and support in relation to UN Women’s procurement, resource mobilization and programmatic activities

  • Prepare, review and negotiate contracts, agreements and other arrangements for UN Women, and the preparation of standard forms of contracts and agreements for use by UN Women.
  • Review, negotiate and settle claims and disputes arising from agreements, contracts and other arrangements.
  • Lead the negotiation and establishment of host country, conference and other agreements, constitutive instruments and other legal texts and instruments required for the conduct of operational activities carried out by UN Women in the various Member States.
  • Identify mismanagement or non-compliance with delegation of authority, control frameworks and other administrative issuances and provide informal and/or formal advice to management
  • Identify and advise on areas where changes may be warranted to standard forms of contracts and agreements to strengthen UN Women’s accountability and its effectiveness and efficiency

Provide the highest quality legal advice and support to the UN Women Executive Director and the Directors of Management and Human Resources on administrative law and human resource matters, investigative and oversight activities and accountability issues

  • Provide legal advice on procedures governing the internal justice system and other relevant aspects of human resources management, including disciplinary matters, harassment, abuse of authority, retaliation, ethics, rights and obligations of staff, legal status of staff and dependents, financial recovery, taxation and insurance issues.
  • Prepare legal opinions on cases of mismanagement or non-compliance with legislative and administrative issuances and make recommendations in respect of matters arising under the UN Women Legal Framework for Ensuring Compliance with UN Standards of Conduct, including administrative leave and disciplinary matters
  • Provide legal advice in relation to matters arising out of UN Women’s investigative activities and oversee the provision of investigative services to UN Women, including act as focal point on issues arising out of investigations, facilitate queries, receive and analyze case reports and provide advice to management, provide input into internal and external reports on investigative activities,
  • Advise on and oversee pursuit of recovery for losses to UN Women;
  • Liaise with UN/OLA and other external entities, including Member States, with respect to investigations and proceedings relating to UN Women, including possible criminal conduct by UN Women officials, experts on mission, or other third parties, for possible referrals to the national authorities
  • Prepare written responses and other submissions as required on behalf of the Executive Director in response to applications and other submissions filed before the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT).
  • Represent the Administration before the UNDT, including but not limited to, in direction hearings and hearings on the merits. 
  • Attend to all stages of proceedings before the UNDT, including the conduct of settlement negotiations and/or mediation proceedings where required.  Liaise with UN/OLA regarding UNDT cases involving UN Women, UN/OLA’s representation of the Secretary-General before the United Nations Appeals Tribunal (UNAT), in cases involving UN Women, and other administration of justice related issues.

Provide the highest quality advice to the UN Women Executive Director and his/her senior management team on policy matters, identify and implement innovative solutions and best practices that address the priorities of UN Women and promote knowledge and awareness within UN Women in relation to legal and related issues

  • Provide leadership and advice towards ongoing alignment and implementation of evolving programme initiatives, strategies and operational practices, from the corporate, institutional and administrative law perspective;
  • Identify and advise on areas where systemic or policy changes may be warranted to strengthen UN Women’s accountability and/or allow operational units to carry out their functions more effectively and efficiently;
  • Contribute to the review and design of new legal instruments, policy, guidelines, and systems; including oversee the establishment and implementation of the UN Women Legislative Framework, and collaborating with substantive offices, divisions and sections to ensure its effective operation
  • Promote knowledge in UN Women of the applicable legal framework and related policies and compliance therewith through preparation and facilitation of training for staff and managers at all levels, including training on preventing, detecting and addressing fraud and misconduct, ethics, workplace harassment and abuse of authority, and protection from retaliation, in collaboration with substantive offices, divisions and sections.

Lead and manage the Legal Unit in UN Women, co-ordinate UN Women’s relationships with, and represent UN Women’s interests before, external entities, networks and bodies

  • Plan and oversee the management of the activities of the Legal Section, recruit and train staff, determine priorities, allocate resources, manage its budget, finances and administration, supervise the work of staff to ensure high-quality standards and output, provide substantive reviews of draft advice, legal submissions/motions, and other legal documents, and coordinate and deliver the diverse projects of the Section; ensure performance appraisals are implemented within deadlines
  • Develop and maintain effective electronic management systems to enable the Section to carry out its functions more effectively and efficiently;
  • Represent UN Women’s interests in the HLCM Legal Network, the UNDG Legal Group, high level inter-agency meetings, and participate in task forces and working groups, covering issues of corporate, institutional or administrative law, including the internal system of justice, as appropriate;
  • Prepare substantive input to and represent UN Women before internal and external oversight and intergovernmental bodies and entities including the Executive Board and Audit Advisory Committee and other policy-making and oversight bodies;
  • Coordinate with substantive offices in accordance with standing working arrangements; UN Secretariat’s Office of Legal Affairs, the Office of Audit and Investigation/UNDP, the Office of Internal Oversight Services.
  • Oversee security requirements for the team

    Key Performance Indicators

    The key results of the post are effective and efficient protection of the Organization’s legal interests in all areas of work; through the provision of the highest quality advice, reduction of legal exposure in programmatic, operational and human resource-related areas.

  • Quality and timely legal advice which leads to the legal protection of the organization, its personnel and assets
  • Quality and timely legal support which contributes to the effective and efficient operation of the organization and implementation of its mandate
  • Quality representation of the organization which protects the organization’s interests, reputation and relationships
  • Performance of team members


Core Values:

  • Respect for Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Professionalism

Core Competencies:

  • Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues
  • Accountability
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Effective Communication
  • Inclusive Collaboration
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Leading by Example

Please visit this link for more information on UN Women’s Core Values and Competencies:


  • Excellent theoretical knowledge of international law;
  • Strong understanding and knowledge of the UN system, including the privileges and immunities of international organizations, and international administrative law as practiced in international organizations,
  • Excellent knowledge of the constitutional, legislative and administrative basis for UN Women’s mandate and operations (UN Charter, relevant General Assembly resolutions and other relevant resolutions and decisions, UN Women Financial Regulations and Rules, UN Staff Regulations and Rules);
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively under pressure;
  • Excellent skills in drafting under pressure a broad range of documents of a legal nature, including briefing notes and reports on legal issues and submissions to courts and tribunals;
  • Excellent verbal communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to provide oral briefings on complex legal issues to legal and non-legal audiences;
  • Sound negotiation skills;
  • Demonstrated consciousness and efficiency in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and personal maturity;
  • Understanding of UN Women’s goals and programmes;
  • Fully proficient computer skills and ability to use relevant software applications, in particular information databases, internet/intranet services, library sources, etc;
  • Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Required Skills and Experience

Education and certification:

  • A Master of Law is required;
  • Membership of national bar


  • At least 10 years of practical experience in the practice of law with a law firm, a government and/or an international organization’s legal office;
  • Prior experience in the UN system is an asset

Language Requirements:

  • Fluency in English is required
  • Working knowledge of the other UN official working language is an asset.
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UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

What does it mean?

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