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UN Women: Legal Specialist

New York City (United States of America)

  • Organization: UN WOMEN - United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Women's Empowerment and Gender Mainstreaming
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2019-12-13

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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.

The UN Women Legal Office is responsible for providing 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.

Under the overall supervision of the Chief of Legal the Legal Specialist will provide legal advice to UN Women management, HQ units, regional, sub-regional and country offices, as required.

Duties and Responsibilities

Provide legal advice to UN Women on issues related to human resources management:

  • Provide legal advice to UN Women senior management, headquarters units, country offices, on the application of the Staff Regulations, Rules and procedures governing the internal justice system and other relevant aspects of human resources management, including disciplinary matters.
  • Expert advice and support to management as required on matters concerning SEA, protection from harassment, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and discrimination, also by keeping abreast of relevant developments within the organization and assisting the enforcement of UN Women’s zero-tolerance approach to violations.

Provide technical support in relation to investigations, disciplinary matters and criminal accountability:

  • Directly handle analysis and review of investigation reports and recommendation of appropriate action under UN Women’s Legal Framework.
  • Provide technical support in the processing of cases referred by investigation service for management action by reviewing such cases, ensuring administration and application of the due process requirements and internal policies; and work with IEAS and HR, as appropriate, to advise on appropriate resolution thereof in accordance with established staff regulations, rules, policies and procedures.
  • Prepare reports on UN Women’s practice in disciplinary matters for a broad range of internal stakeholders.
  • Liaise with UN/OLA with respect to cases involving possible criminal conduct by UN Women officials, experts on mission, or other third parties, for possible referrals to the national authorities of the appropriate Member States, and with respect to investigations and proceedings relating to UN Women, as conducted by Member States.

Prepare written responses to management evaluation requests and UNDT applications:

  • Prepare written responses as required on behalf of the Executive Director in response to requests for management evaluation.
  • 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 UN Women as necessary in relation to UNDT applications:

  • Represent the Secretary-General before the UNDT, including but not limited to, in direction hearings and hearings on the merits as requested. 
  • 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 knowledge management and capacity building support:

  • Based on experience gained from addressing issues related to any of the legal functions, identify and advise on areas where systemic or policy changes may be warranted in order to strengthen UN Women’s accountability including reviewing policies and procedures, in consultation with the concerned substantive units.
  • Enhance knowledge within UN Women about legal matters through participating in and preparing training programmes.


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 Values and Competencies Framework:

Functional Competencies:

  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively under pressure;
  • Strong 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;
  • Strong verbal communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to provide oral briefings on complex legal issues to legal and non-legal audiences;
  • Sound negotiation skills;
  • Client orientation with constructive approach to resolution of problems and dedication to providing timely support;
  • Demonstrated consciousness and efficiency in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results;
  • Good interpersonal skills and personal maturity
  • ability to work with utmost discretion in handling sensitive and confidential matters;
  • Ability to multi-task, handling a complex workload involving concurrent deadlines;
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team;
  • Some 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;
  • Proficiency in MS Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint and electronic media applications.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in law. 


  • At least 5 years of practical experience in the practice of law with a law firm, a government and/or an international organization’s legal office.


  • Excellent command of oral and written English. Knowledge of another United Nations official language, particularly French or Spanish, is an asset.  


All applications must include (as an attachment) the completed UN Women Personal History form (P-11) which can be downloaded from Kindly note that the system will only allow one attachment. Applications without the completed UN Women P-11 form will be treated as incomplete and will not be considered for further assessment.


In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system (DAW, OSAGI, INSTRAW and UNIFEM), which focused exclusively on gender equality and women's empowerment.

Click here for important information for US Permanent Residents ('Green Card' holders).
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. UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.
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.

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