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Legal Specialist


  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: washington
  • Grade: P-2, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Junior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2020-10-27

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This requisition is for employment at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO)

Provides advice and legal counsel to PAHO/WHO's Governing Bodies, Executive Management, PAHO/WHO Representations (PWRs), Centers, and Country Offices in all legal matters, including the application of national and international law to the Organization's programs and activities as well as constitutional, administrative, and procedural matters. Drafts, reviews, and/or negotiates contracts, treaties, agreements, resolutions, and any other type of instrument which has legal implications for the Organization. Represents and defends the Organization before the internal appeals process as well as the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labor Organization and other national or international judicial and quasi-judicial fora, as appropriate.


Under the direct supervision of the Senior Legal Advisor (LEG), and the general supervision of the Legal Counsel, Office of the Legal Counsel (LEG), the incumbent is responsible for, but not necessarily limited to, the following assigned duties:

  1. Prepare draft legal opinions in response to queries raised by Country, Sub Regional, and Regional entities as well as Centers, following general instructions given by supervisor;
  2. Perform preliminary review of the legal aspects of project proposals, draft agreements, correspondence and other texts and provide appropriate comments to the corresponding Senior Legal Officer;
  3. Draft or assist in the drafting of Technical Cooperation Agreements and other legal documents to which the Organization is a party for the final review of a Senior Legal Officer;
  4. Draft legal memoranda and other legal documents including administrative contracts and agreements such as contracts of engagement of personnel, consultants and contracts awarded for the procurement of goods or services;
  5. Prepare and follow up on filings before national entities to establish, maintain, and protect the intellectual property and other legal commercial rights of the Organization;
  6. Prepare draft recommendations concerning the Organization’s policy on intellectual property and commercial issues;
  7. Prepare, review, draft, and negotiate copyright, trademark, and patent license agreements;
  8. Assist in the preparation of briefs to represent the Organization in proceedings before appeal bodies and administrative tribunals as well as other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies;
  9. Assist in the selection and analysis of relevant international and national legal materials for the preparation of reports or legal opinions;
  10. Prepare background materials, reports, papers and other documents as requested by supervisor;
  11. Perform other related duties, as assigned.



Essential: A university degree in law with studies in the area of private law from a recognized university.

Desirable: Advanced law degree in any of the areas that relate to the functions of the post would be an asset.

In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO, only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: PAHO will also use the databases of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and College Navigator, found on the website of the National Centre for Educational Statistics, to support the validation process.


Essential: Five years of combined national and international experience in private law, preferably in contracts, torts, mercantile and administrative law.

Desirable: Experience with a UN common system organization, or other international public organization would be an asset.


PAHO Competencies:

  • Overall attitude at work: Maintains integrity and takes a clear ethical approach and stance; demonstrates commitment to the Organization’s mandate and promotes the values of the Organization in daily work and behavior; is accountable for work carried out in line with own role and responsibilities; is respectful towards, and trusted by, colleagues and counterparts.
  • Teamwork: Works collaboratively with team members and counterparts to achieve results; encourages cooperation and builds rapport; helps others when asked; accepts joint responsibility for the teams’ successes and shortcomings. Identifies conflicts in a timely manner and addresses them as necessary; understands issues from the perspective of others; does not interpret/ attribute conflicts to cultural, geographical or gender issues.
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences: Treats all people with dignity and respect. Relates well to people with different cultures, gender, orientations, backgrounds and/or positions; examines own behavior to avoid stereotypical responses; considers issues from the perspective of others and values their diversity.
  • Communication: Quality and quantity of communication targeted at audience. Listens attentively and does not interrupt other speakers. Adapts communication style and written content to ensure they are appropriately and accurately understood by the audience (e.g., power-point presentations, communication strategies, implementation plans). Shares information openly with colleagues and transfers knowledge, as needed.
  • Knowing and managing yourself: Remains productive even in an environment where information or direction is not available, and when facing challenges; recovers quickly from setbacks, where necessary. Manages stress positively; remains positive and productive even under pressure; does not transfer stress to others. Seeks feedback to improve knowledge and performance; shows self- awareness when seeking and receiving feedback; uses feedback to improve own performance. Seeks informal and/or formal learning opportunities for personal and professional development; systematically learns new competencies and skills useful for job; takes advantage of learning opportunities to fill competencies and skill gaps.
  • Producing Results: Produces high-quality results and workable solutions that meet clients’ needs. Works independently to produce new results and sets own time lines effectively and efficiently. Shows awareness of own role and clarifies roles of team members in relation to project’s expected results. Makes proposals for improving processes as required and takes responsibility for own work and/or actions, as necessary. Demonstrates positive attitude in working on new projects and initiatives. Demonstrates accountability for own success, as well as for errors; learns from experience.
  • Moving forward in a changing environment: Suggests and articulates effective and efficient proposals for change as needed when new circumstances arise. Quickly and effectively adapts own work approach in response to new demands and changing priorities. Is open to new ideas, approaches and working methods; adjusts own approach to embrace change initiatives.

Technical Expertise:

  • Good theoretical knowledge of civil law, in particular the application of legal principles, concepts and policies to the review, examination and processing of a range of legal issues and documents.
  • Ability to conduct legal research on a range of complex and intricate issues and to translate the result into practical solutions.
  • Excellent analytical, organizational and negotiating skills.
  • Proven ability to review and provide comments on laws, regulations and policy documents for technical assistance purposes.
  • Strong professional oral and writing skills, including the development of reports, oral presentations, and technical/persuasive documents for consideration at the highest levels of the Organization.


Very good knowledge of English and Spanish. Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese would be an asset.

IT Skills:

Demonstrated ability to effectively use a computer and utilize software programs such as Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint and Outlook. Other IT skills and knowledge of other software programs such as Visio and Project will be an asset.


Annual Salary: (Net of taxes)

US$ 47,895.00 post adjustment

Post Adjustment: 50.4% of the above figure(s). This percentage is to be considered as indicative since variations may occur each month either upwards or downwards due to currency exchange rate fluctuations or inflation.


This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level.

Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.

A written test may be used as a form of screening.

Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to PAHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and e-Manual.

For information on PAHO please visit:

PAHO/WHO is committed to workforce diversity.

PAHO/WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.

PAHO/WHO offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance). Other benefits include: 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme. Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy.

Candidates appointed to an international post with PAHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.

All applicants are required to complete an on-line profile to be considered for this post.

Candidates will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration. A written test and/or interview will be held for this post. The post description is the official documentation for organization purposes.

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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