Legal Specialist

Website unops UNOPS

United Nations Office for Project Services


The UNOPS Integrated Practice Advice and Support (IPAS) unit is part of the Shared Services Centre (SSC) which provides policy advice, operational support and transactional services to UNOPS offices worldwide. SSC is also responsible for the administrative support to HQ and Copenhagen-based personnel.

Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, IPAS was established for the purpose of serving the operations of entities under its coverage, primarily with advice and solutions to everyday implementation challenges. IPAS consists of a diverse team with over fifty colleagues who are subject experts in the six practice areas of HR, Administration, Legal, Finance, Project Management and Infrastructure, and Procurement.

IPAS has three main roles:

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

Business efficiency: IPAS recommends changes to policies, processes and operating standards to policy owners, based on the feedback and experience of 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 UNOPS practice groups and project practitioners. It is striving to be a body of knowledge that works across practice areas to provide coherent and tailored advice to the requesting offices.


The IPAS Legal Specialist reports to the IPAS Legal Team Lead and is responsible for delivering on the three areas of supporting operations, business efficiency and knowledge management. For IPAS Legal this translates into daily interactions with country offices and regional offices to provide sound and accurate legal advice.

Under the supervision and guidance of the IPAS Legal Team Lead, the Legal Specialist is responsible for ensuring that timely legal advice is provided, which focuses on providing solutions, to IPAS Legal’s clients. This requires close interactions not only with country offices, but also with other IPAS practice teams, policy groups and regional offices. It also requires a good understanding of the diverse environment in which UNOPS operates.

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.

The incumbent will be expected to identify and escalate complex and high risk matters to the IPAS Legal Team Lead. The incumbent will be expected to travel from time to time.

Specific Job Functions:

Under the overall guidance of the IPAS Legal Team Lead the incumbent shall Support UNOPS operations through advice on institutional and commercial legal matters such as:

  • Reviewing new engagements and engagement amendments, with a focus on identifying legal risks and opportunities in close collaboration with other IPAS reviewers and the IPAS Legal Team Lead;
  • Conducting legal review and support negotiation of project agreements with UNOPS funding sources;
  • Drafting, reviewing and support negotiating contracts and grant agreements;
  • Providing support in the review and implementation of the UNOPS regulatory framework and coordinating and reviewing audit responses. Where appropriate, assist in the follow-up on the implementation of audit recommendations;
  • Advising on risk mitigation strategies for the organisation;
  • Providing holistic legal advice in coordination with the IPAS Legal Team and other IPAS advisors.

Contribute to business efficiency:

  • Work closely with other IPAS units on system enhancements, outlining legal requirements;
  • Support the development and improvement of the UNOPS regulatory framework;
  • Support corporate and cross-functional initiatives and contribute to ensure that internal policies, processes and systems are aligned with the overall regulatory framework,  and are practical, relevant and add value to organizational operations.

Build and maintain an active body of legal knowledge:

  • Contribute to legal knowledge and information management within the team and across the organisation;
  • Keep abreast of external legal developments and best practices;
  • Provide regular feedback to internal clients on legal issues, risks and possible areas of improvement;
  • Provide legal training to;relevant field personnel and other internal clients on corporate and institutional legal issues.


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.



  • Advanced university degree (master’s or equivalent) in 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.
  • Admission to practice law in any national jurisdiction is required.


  • Minimum five years of post-graduate experience analysing legal issues and conducting legal research, preferably with an international organization or legal office is required.
  • At least one year of experience in the application of regulations and rules, policies, procedures and decision-making processes of an international organization is required.
  • Experience analysing legal issues and conducting legal research in support of a legal office/government agency/international organization is required.
  • Demonstrated theoretical knowledge of  law and the application of legal principles, concepts and policies to the review, examination and processing of a range of legal issues and documents; Proficiency in legal drafting and ability to draft accurately, clearly and concisely under time pressure.
  • Demonstrated experience in communicating complex legal concepts across a range of audiences.
  • Demonstrated field experience in a development context is an advantage.

Language requirement: 

  • Fluency in written and spoken English is required.
  • Knowledge of French or Spanish is desirable.


Contract type: Fixed-term staff contract Contract level: P3
Contract duration: One year initially, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability

For more details about United Nations staff contracts, please follow this link


  • 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
  • UNOPS seeks to reasonably accommodate candidates with special needs, upon request.
  • For staff positions only, UNOPS reserves the right to appoint a candidate at a lower level than the advertised level of the post
  • 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.


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.

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