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Legal Counsel


  • Organization: WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organization
  • Location: Geneva
  • Grade: Senior Executive level - D-2, Director - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2022-12-09

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING APPLICATION DEADLINE\:  please note that the deadline for applications is indicated in local time as per the time zone of the applicant’s location.


1.     Organizational Context


  1. Organizational Setting


The post is located in the Office of the Legal Counsel (OLC). OLC is responsible for providing legal advice and assistance to the Director General, to the bodies of WIPO Member States and to the secretariat on constitutional, administrative, contractual, and general legal matters, and in respect of the depository functions of WIPO-administered treaties, in harmony with statutory requirements and applicable law.


  1. Purpose Statement


The Legal Counsel is responsible for directing the work of OLC and planning, coordinating and supervising the above-mentioned legal functions and activities in accordance with the Organization’s constitution and other legal and policy texts.


  1. Reporting Lines


The incumbent works under the supervision of the Assistant Director General in charge of the Administration, Finance and Management Sector.



2.      Duties and Responsibilities


The incumbent will perform the following principal duties\:


a.   Advise the Director General and the highest organs of the Organization on complex and sensitive issues relating to the functions, structure and activities of the Organization, including on the application and interpretation of the basic constituent instrument of the Organization, the rules of procedure of governing bodies, and on public international law aspects of WIPO-administered treaties.


b.   Participate in negotiations and direct the drafting of legal instruments such as agreements and contracts to be entered into by the Organization; provide expert advice on the resolution of claims arising under such agreements and contracts.


c.   Provide, or oversee the provision of, advice on the legal status of the Organization in the countries in which its headquarters and external offices are located and on the legal status of staff and related privileges and immunities.


d.   Oversee the provision of legal advice on personnel-related matters, including policies and procedures, and on matters and cases subject to WIPO’s administration of justice system.


e.   Oversee the timely preparation of treaty notifications and other actions in the discharge of the depositary functions of the Director General.


f.    Direct OLC’s portfolio of work and take overall management responsibility for its human and financial resources, determining priorities and allocating resources for the timely and quality delivery of work products in accordance with results-based management principles; ensure that key risks are identified, assessed and managed for the achievement of agreed results.


g.   Represent the Director General before the WIPO Appeal Board and the Organization before the ILO Administrative Tribunal and any other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies; oversee the preparation and review of briefs and pleadings.


h.   Represent the Director General or the Organization in high-level meetings, consultations and negotiations with contractors and with high-level representatives of Member States or other organizations and bodies involving constitutional and legal matters.


i.    Oversee the preparation of studies and reports on specific subjects of a general legal nature and on the legislative activity of the Organization.


j.    Perform other related duties as required.



3.      Requirements


Education (Essential)

Advanced university degree in law, preferably with a focus on public international law. A first-level university degree with two additional years of relevant experience may be accepted in lieu of an advanced university degree.


Experience (Essential)

At least 15 years of professional experience in a relevant legal field, including in public international law and administrative law pertaining to international organizations, of which considerable experience gained in an international organization and/or a national government.


Experience in a senior managerial role, including direct supervisory responsibilities over a team.


Language (Essential)

Excellent written and spoken knowledge of English.


Language (Desirable)

Good knowledge of French.


Knowledge of other UN official languages.


Job Related Competencies (Essential)

In-depth knowledge of public international law, as well as the practical application of legal principles, concepts and policy to a range of legal issues in the area of public international law.


Knowledge of international, regional and bilateral instruments concerning intellectual property.


Knowledge of the United Nations Common System.


Good knowledge of results-based management principles.


Ability to articulate technically complex and politically sensitive notions with clarity, tact and diplomacy.


Political acumen and excellent negotiation skills.


Excellent decision-making and problem-solving skills.


Independent judgment and capacity for critical analysis.


Strong leadership skills to motivate staff, promote interest and engagement and teamwork.


Excellent ability to communicate and interact with WIPO’s directorate, senior management, Member States and other key stakeholders.


Excellent communication, networking and interpersonal skills and ability to maintain effective partnerships and working relations in a multi-cultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.



4.      Organizational Competencies


  1. Communicating effectively.
  2. Showing team spirit.
  3. Demonstrating integrity.
  4. Valuing diversity.
  5. Producing results.
  6. Showing service orientation.
  7. Seeing the big picture.
  8. Seeking change and innovation.
  9. Developing yourself and others.



5.      Information


Mobility\:  WIPO staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the Director General and may be assigned to any activities, office or duty station of the Organization.  Accordingly, the selected candidate may be required to move from time to time to new functions and/or to another duty station.


Annual salary\:

Total annual salary consists of a net annual salary (net of taxes and before medical insurance and pension fund deductions) in US dollars and a post adjustment.  Please note that this estimate is for information only.  The post adjustment multiplier (cost of living allowance) is variable and subject to change (increase or decrease) without notice.  The figures quoted below are based on the October 2022 rate of 71%





Annual salary



Post adjustment



Total Salary



Currency USD





Salaries and allowances are paid in Swiss francs at the official rate of exchange of the United Nations.


Please refer to WIPO’s Staff Regulation and Rules for detailed information concerning salaries, benefits and allowances.


Additional Information


Initial period of two years, renewable, subject to satisfactory performance.  No fixed-term appointment or any extension hereof shall carry with it any expectancy of, nor imply any right to, (further) extensions or conversion to a permanent appointment.


This vacancy announcement may be used to fill other posts at the same grade with similar functions in accordance with Staff Rule 4.9.5.


Applications from qualified women as well as from qualified nationals of unrepresented Member States of WIPO and underrepresented geographical regions are encouraged. Please click on the following links for the list of unrepresented Member States and the list of underrepresented regions and the WIPO Member States in these regions.


The Organization reserves the right to make an appointment at a grade lower than that advertised.




By completing an application, candidates understand that any willful misrepresentation made on this web site, or on any other documents submitted to WIPO during the application, may result in disqualification from the recruitment process, or termination of employment with WIPO at a later date, if that employment resulted from such willful misrepresentations.


In the event that your candidature is shortlisted, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of an identification and of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WIPO 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\: http\:// Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and these will be reviewed individually.


Additional testing/interviewing may be used as a form of screening.  Initial appointment is subject to satisfactory professional references.


Additional background checks may be required.

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.