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Legal Associate

New York City (United States of America)

  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: New York City (United States of America)
  • Grade: LICA-6, Local Individual Contractors Agreement - Administrative support
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2021-06-20

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Background Information - LG

Legal Group

The purpose of the Legal Group is to lead the organization’s legal strategy and practice.  The core functions of the Legal Practice Group are to:

a.       Articulate legal policies and processes; enable operationalization and managerial oversight through appropriate systems and reports; provide corporate advice and guidance; and strengthen the knowledge, skills and career development of legal practitioners.

b.      Enable UNOPS legal and contracting activities to execute the organization’s business strategy.


Background Information - Job-specific

UNOPS supports the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to serve people in need by expanding the ability of the United Nations, governments and other partners to manage projects, infrastructure and procurement in a sustainable and efficient manner. Working in some of the world’s most challenging environments, our vision is to advance sustainable implementation practices, always satisfying or surpassing our partners’ expectations. A flexible structure and global reach means that we can quickly respond to our partners' needs, while offering the benefits of economies of scale. 

This position will report to the Director of the Legal Group but will solely serve the Commercial and Institutional Law Practice of the UNOPS Legal Group.

The primary responsibilities of the Legal Associate will be to provide legal assistance on commercial and institutional matters, to perform reviews of legal documents, and to support the Corporate Legal Advisor in internal and external meetings, negotiations and disputes. The position may involve some elements of legal research and drafting, but will be primarily administrative. The position will give exposure to a wide variety of types of work overseen by the UNOPS Legal Group.

Functional Responsibilities

Under the supervision of the Director of the Legal Group and the overall guidance of the Corporate Legal Advisor, the Legal Associate will be responsible for the following duties:

  1. Drafts, edits, proofreads, finalizes and processes legal correspondence and communications with internal and external stakeholders, including senior management and external partners, for internal clearances, approval and signature; monitors requisite follow-up actions.

  2. Provides secretarial, administrative and logistics support to internal and external meetings, boards, committees or conferences on legal matters, including assisting in the preparation of minutes, draft summaries, reports, notes, documents, etc.; track status of meetings; monitor follow-up actions.

  3. Compiles, organizes and reviews legal information and legal reference materials from various sources for internal and external meetings, briefings, work plans, legal reports, conferences, etc.

  4. Supports Legal Advisors within the Commercial & Institutional Practice of the Legal Group in providing efficient and consistent legal advice to clients by setting up internal knowledge management systems (for example, by setting up document libraries, maintaining and reviewing internal processes and intranet sites, reviewing existing legal templates, etc). 

  5. Assists in the preparation of legal documents for electronic storage, access and circulation/publication, including document scanning and conversion, review of content and extraction of key data and text excerpts for categorization and indexing purposes, etc.

  6. Sets up and maintains legal reference files and records (electronic and paper) for the Legal Group (for example, Host Country Agreement database, Due Diligence Register, etc).

  7. Administers the non-legal aspects of the due diligence system, i.e. intake and tracking of requests, supporting referral for research to internal or external reviewers, filing of due diligence records in the register, maintaining a searchable database of entities, responding to routine queries, updating reviews on a rolling basis for existing partners, clients and funding sources. 

  8. Assists with the enhancement of existing systems for record management and retrieval, including development of proposals for consideration.

  9. Assists with the registration and publication of international treaties and other legal instruments. 

  10. Responds to moderately complex information requests and inquiries (for example, answers to requests requiring file search, etc).

  11. Handles, or refers to the appropriate Legal Advisor, a variety of verbal and written inquiries from internal or external stakeholders, including providing information on processes and procedures related to specific legal activities, instruments, etc; maintains an overview of assigned tasks within the Legal Group to ensure optimal capacity allocation. 

  12. Updates external and internal websites, contributes to the development and dissemination of guidance notes and reading materials, schedules webinars and other capacity building sessions;

  13. Updates and maintains distribution lists for internal and external working groups; monitors, prepares and distributes various legal materials and reports; handles arrangements for printing and translation as necessary; coordinates shipment arrangements, courier services, etc.

  14. Performs general administrative tasks, including preparing and/or processing administrative requests/documents.


Treats all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same. Upholds organizational and ethical norms. Maintains high standards of trustworthiness. Role model for diversity and inclusion.
Acts as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others. 
Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them. Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
Open to change and flexible in a fast paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behavior. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks. Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Education/Experience/Language requirements


  • Secondary education required. 

  • A Diploma or University Degree preferably in law or related field would be desirable, and may substitute for some of the required years of experience, but it is not a requirement.


  • At least six years of experience providing support to a legal office/government agency/international organization is required;

  • Experience working as a paralegal or legal assistant in a law firm, international or multilateral organisation is a strong asset;

  • Experience with legal drafting and an ability to draft concisely, under time pressure is highly desired;

  • Experience with the usage of Google suite is desired;

  • UN experience is desirable but not a requirement. 

Language requirements:

  • Fluency in English, both written and verbal, is required;

  • Knowledge of French and/or Spanish is an advantage.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: ICA Contract level: LICA - 6
Contract duration: 7-months contract with possibility of extension, subject to organizational requirements, availability of funds and satisfactory performance.

For more details about the ICA contractual modality, please follow this link: 

Additional Considerations

  • Please note that the closing date is midnight Copenhagen time
  • Applications received after the closing date will not be considered.
  • Only those candidates that are short-listed for interviews will be notified.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • Work life harmonization - UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands. We have a progressive policy on work-life harmonization and offer several flexible working options. This policy applies to UNOPS personnel on all contract types
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • For retainer contracts, you must complete a few Mandatory Courses (around 4 hours) in your own time, before providing services to UNOPS.
  • The incumbent is responsible to abide by security policies, administrative instructions, plans and procedures of the UN Security Management System and that of UNOPS.  

It is the policy of UNOPS to conduct background checks on all potential recruits/interns. Recruitment/internship in UNOPS is contingent on the results of such checks.

Background Information - UNOPS

UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian and development projects around the world. Our mission is to help people build better lives and countries achieve sustainable development.

UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.

Working with us

UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.


With over 4,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our gender balance through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates.

Work life harmonization

UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.

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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