Senior Legal Officer
• FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background and culture
• Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented Members and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply
• Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct, and to uphold FAO's values
• FAO, as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, has a zero-tolerance policy for conduct that is incompatible with its status, objectives and mandate, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination
• All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks
• All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality
• FAO staff are subject to the authority of the Director-General, who may assign them to any of the activities or offices of the Organization.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda through FAO’s Strategic Framework by supporting the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems, for better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life, leaving no one behind.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is the Specialized Agency of the United Nations leading international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide to achieve food security for all and ensure that people have regular access to high-quality food.
As an Office reporting direcly to the Director-General, the Legal Office (LEG) provides authoritative legal advice and assistance on a wide range of issues to the Director-General, units in Headquarters and in the field, the Governing and Statutory Bodies and Members of the Organization.
The position of Senior Legal Officer is located in the General Legal Affairs Service (LEGA) of the Legal Office (LEG) at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. LEGA provides legal advice to all units of the Organization, and its Governing and Statutory Bodies, on constitutional questions, the interpretation of its Basic Texts, international treaties, internal legal rules and policies, as well as on legal aspects of relations with the Host and other Governments, other international organizations, private sector and other entities, and specific legal aspects of personnel matters. It represents FAO in judicial proceedings and in settlements of disputes.
Depending upon the specific area of activity/subject-matter, the Senior Legal Officer will report to the Legal Counsel or the Deputy Legal Counsel.
Public international law, law of international organizations/constitutional law, international administrative law and contract law.
The planning, management and delivery of multi-disciplinary legal-related activities and related policies, services and advice.
• Leads a wide range of multi-disciplinary highly complex, and often sensitive and/or conflicting, legal matters involving issues relating to public and private international law, including drafting, interpretation and application of a wide range of legal instruments.
• Supports the Legal Counsel and Deputy Legal Counsel in the day-to-day coordination and supervision of the work of junior legal officers and other LEGA personnel.
• Provides authoritative legal advice on a diverse range of highly complex or novel substantive and procedural questions of law, which may include those related to governance, administration and management, and corporate operational matters.
• Provides legal advice on the interpretation and application of the instruments setting out the status and mandate of the Organization.
• Organizes and supervises research studies and the preparation of legal opinions, as well as performs extensive legal research and analysis on highly complex or novel legal issues/questions and prepares legal opinions, studies, briefs, reports, and correspondence.
• Advises on and supervises the review, negotiation and drafting of major contracts, agreements, institutional and operational modalities, legal submissions, and other legal documents.
• Prepares submissions and other documents in tribunal and administrative proceedings, including disciplinary cases and staff appeals; negotiates settlement of major claims and prepares legal documentation relating to such settlements.
• Provides legal advice to senior officials on the interpretation of personnel policies, regulations and rules, including the review of administrative implications of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILOAT) judgments.
• Coordinates the preparation of revisions to the Staff Regulations and to all series of the Staff Rules; coordinates the preparation or amendment of administrative issuances and verifies their consistency with the Staff Regulations and Rules.
• Represents the Organization in formal meetings, negotiations, and/or mediation/problem resolution meetings to reach agreement on various human resources-related issues and/or to resolve difficult or contentious problems.
• Reviews and monitors the provision of legal services to identify trends and problem areas and recommends corrective action or new approaches, or develops new legal modalities, to meet unique needs/circumstances; contributes to the review and design of new applications of legal instruments, policy, guidelines, systems, etc.
• Performs other duties as required.
• While the incumbent may be called upon to address any of the legal issues identified under Key Functions, this post will have a focus on administrative law matters, including specific legal aspects of personnel matters, handling appeals cases and disciplinary matters, and supporting the Office's work in ensuring that the Organization's internal legal and policy framework is fit for purpose and consistent with the Organization's status as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations and a member of the Common System.
• The incumbent may be requested to serve as Secretary to the FAO Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters, and to provide legal support to other Governing and Statutory Bodies of FAO.
• The incumbent will be expected to support the Legal Counsel and Deputy Legal Counsel in addressing day-to-day administrative tasks in connection with the functioning of LEGA.
CANDIDATES WILL BE ASSESSED AGAINST THE FOLLOWING
• Advanced university degree in law in a field relevant to FAO’s mandate
• Ten years of legal experience relevant to the functions stated above, including experience in an international setting (such as a legal unit of an international organization or governmental institution, or in other forms of legal practice involving international dimensions)
• Working knowledge of English and limited knowledge of another FAO official language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish)
• Results Focus
• Leading, Engaging and Empowering
• Partnering and Advocating
• Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement
• Strategic Thinking
• Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions, is desirable
• Admission to practice law in a national jurisdiction is desirable
• Working knowledge of French or Spanish is desirable
• Extent and relevance of experience in providing oral and written legal advice on issues of public and private international law including international treaties, in legal aspects of relations with the Host Countries and other Governments, other international organizations, private sector and other entities, and specific legal aspects of personnel matters, as well as representation in judicial proceedings and in settlements of disputes
• Extent and relevance of experience in the operation of institutions governed by Public International Law
• Extent and relevance of experience in developing innovative legal solutions, including in emerging areas of law