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Legal Advisor and Practice Team Lead


  • Organization: UNOPS - United Nations Office for Project Services
  • Location: Copenhagen
  • Grade: Mid level - P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: Closed

Background Information - Job-specific

Background 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 5,000 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 diversity through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates and strengthen our inclusion.

Work life harmonisation

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

Integrated practice advice and support IPAS (Video link) 

Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the UNOPS Integrated Practice Advice and Support (IPAS) serves all the regions and headquarters, primarily with advice and solutions to everyday implementation challenges. IPAS consists of a diverse team of  subject matter experts in HR, Administration, Legal, Finance, Procurement, Project Management and Infrastructure. IPAS is composed of seven teams - one team for each of the six practice areas, and the surge team that was recently established to provide ad hoc support to country offices.  IPAS has three main roles:

  • Support to operations in the country offices: IPAS provides timely advice and supports actively finding solutions to everyday implementation challenges, based on policy and best practices. It also provides operational support in specific areas.

  • Business efficiency: IPAS recommends changes to policies, processes and operating standards based on the feedback and experience of the country offices. IPAS also ensures transparent and efficient project implementation, in line with policy and business needs. 

  • Body of knowledge: IPAS contributes to research and coordination within the policy groups and project practitioners. It provides structured knowledge and subject matter expertise which is used across practice areas to provide coherent and tailored advice to the requesting offices.

Functional Responsibilities

The IPAS Legal Team Lead leads the IPAS Legal team and reports to the Head of IPAS  and under the overall technical Guidance of the General Counsel. 

He/she works closely with the other IPAS team to ensure an integrated and harmonized approach in the three roles of IPAS. Team leads in IPAS are responsible for building and maintaining effective relationships with country offices and stakeholders at HQ. Each team lead is expected to cultivate and strive for an inclusive and high-performing team for IPAS overall, that enables UNOPS to deliver its mission to help people build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development. 

As an IPAS team lead, you will  require a good understanding of the operational context UNOPS works in e.g. field experience is a key asset for this position. You must be a good communicator, open to challenges and comfortable navigating complexity. Your analytical and strategic skills will allow you to propose and implement plans to address operational matters, remove blockages and follow through with opportunities. The IPAS way of working is defined by six “success factors” which are being a trusted advisor, striving for efficiency, having a team centered approach, quality orientation, client focus and being equal partners.  

The team leads are expected to travel regularly.  

In order to exercise his/her legal responsibilities, the incumbent acts with designated authority provided by the General Counsel. The incumbent will work in accordance with the instructions established by the General Counsel. 

Core Functions: 1. Advice on institutional and commercial matters:

  • Lead the IPAS legal team to undertake reviews and provide advice to country offices on new projects (engagements) and amendments in regards to project viability, risk exposure, legal arrangements and controls;

  • Ensure an integrated and coordinated approach with other IPAS reviewers;

  • Highlight high-risk engagements and provide advice to senior management on potential mitigation strategies;

  • Supervise the team in the review of project agreements with various funding sources; as well as in the review and negotiation of contracts and grant agreements with recipients of UNOPS funds;

  • Provide holistic advice in coordination with other IPAS advisors.

2. Business Efficiency 
  • Ensure a systematic approach to collect and address issues, feedback and suggestions from operations in regards to improvements of policies, processes and systems related to finance. 

  • Work closely with other HQ units to address business critical issues and find solutions that are fit for purpose and contribute with specialist and practical knowledge to policy development to be responsive to UNOPS strategy; to improve efficiencies and strengthen internal controls.

  • Ensure data analytics of IPAS Legal related data to identify risks, opportunities and trends; 

  • Contribute to cross-functional initiatives to ensure that internal policies, processes and systems and tools are aligned with the overall regulatory framework, practical, relevant and add value to organisational operations. 

3.  Team management 

  • Supervise and lead the IPAS Legal team, to ensure that team members are motivated in a trusting and supporting environment that fosters ownership, innovation  and learning. 

  • Facilitate and encourage interaction and collaboration between the IPAS Legal  team and the other IPAS teams and other stakeholders such as policy groups, implementing units and external parties. 

  • Work with data analytics and evolve the risk approach to keep track of workload and trends of IPAS Legal activities and tasks, in order to efficiently manage the team and workload. 

4.  Knowledge management and capacity building 

  • Ensure knowledge and information on legal  matters is maintained and shared actively within the team, and packaged in appropriate formats that can be easily communicated with the country offices.  

  • Keep abreast of internal and external developments and best practices and provide recommendations to relevant stakeholders

  • Provide regular feedback to internal clients on challenges, gaps and possible areas of improvement

  • Develop a strategy to ensure knowledge transfer and capacity building related to legal concepts and issues,, and work closely with other IPAS teams to provide integrated trainings where relevant. 

Education/Experience/Language requirements

  • Advanced University degree (Master's or equivalent) in international law or a closely related area is required;

  • A first-level university degree in law (Bachelor’s or equivalent) from an accredited university in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.


  • Minimum 7 years of professional experience in law is required;

  • Satisfaction of all requirements to practice law in a national jurisdiction of a UN Member State;

  • Within the 7 years of professional experience:

                 - A minimum of 2 years supervising and leading a team is required.
                 - At least 3 years of experience in the application of regulations and rules, policies, procedures and decision-making processes of an international organisation is required;
  • Experience analysing legal issues and conducting legal research in support of a legal office/government agency/international organisation is required;

  • Field experience and/or program management experience is highly desirable;

  • Experience in working with the status and the privileges and immunities of international organisations is required;

  • Experience in negotiation and dispute resolution is desirable;

Language requirements:

  • Fluency in English, both written and verbal, required. 

  • Knowledge of another UN language such as French and Spanish is an advantage; 


Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally in order to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.
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. For people managers only: Acts as positive leadership role model, motivates, directs and inspires others to succeed, utilizing appropriate leadership styles.
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.

Contract type, level and duration

Contract type: FTA
Contract level: P4
Contract duration: one year, renewable

For more details about United Nations staff contracts, 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.
  • UNOPS embraces diversity and it is committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all its employees and encourages qualified candidates to apply irrespective of race, colour, national origin, ethnic or social background, genetic information, gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, religion or belief, or disability.
  • 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.  
  • All UNOPS personnel are responsible for performing their duties in accordance with the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNOPS Policies and Instructions, as well as other relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, all personnel must demonstrate an understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a manner consistent with UN core values and the UN Common Agenda.
  • 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.

This vacancy is now closed.
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