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Senior Legal Officer, P5

United Nations - Office of Legal Affairs

Vienna, Austria

Org. Setting and Reporting

This position is located within the International Trade Law Division (ITLD), Office of Legal Affairs (OLA), which serves as the substantive Secretariat to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and is based in Vienna, Austria. The incumbent reports to the Director of the Division and the Principal Legal Officer heading the Legislative Unit which provides the bulk of substantive secretariat services to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and its subsidiary bodies.

Responsibilities

Within delegated authority, the incumbent will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Direct the work in one or more substantive areas of the work programme of the Commission; consult with outside experts and officials of other organizations working in that area;
  • Supervise one or more legal officers responsible for elements of a subject or for drafts of reports, draft instruments and commentaries; review drafts submitted to him/her; conduct research on particularly difficult issues with a view to devising solutions acceptable to countries with different legal, social and economic systems; finalize the drafting of legal instruments, such as draft conventions, model laws, model agreements, legal guides and various other legal texts; prepare commentaries on those texts;
  • As requested, provide legislative assistance to Member States, in particular developing States, with respect to the enactment in domestic legislation of the texts that emanate from the work of UNCITRAL; provide any other legislative drafting assistance as may be requested by Member States in the context of law reform projects aimed at modernizing commercial law in that country (to that end, consult with senior Ministry officials in Member States);
  • Substantive coordination of the work of various agencies that, inside and outside the United Nations system, engage in the preparation of legal texts governing international trade (to that end, consult with senior officials in international organizations); keep abreast of any developments in those regional and specialized international organizations regarding harmonization of international trade law; maintain a constant link between those bodies to ensure consistency with the texts prepared by the Commission;
  • Lecture at seminars and symposia on international trade law, organized either by UNCITRAL or by other organizations in different countries; supervise the organization of regional or national symposia and seminars; promote the adoption and use of UNCITRAL legal texts by explaining them to government officials, legal practitioners, chambers of commerce and other users;
  • Provide services to UNCITRAL sessions and act as secretary or assistant secretary of UNCITRAL’s subsidiary bodies of committees of a diplomatic conference; draw up portions of draft reports for adoption at the conclusion of Commission and working group sessions;
  • Perform other work related duties as assigned.

Competencies

  • Professionalism: Has expert knowledge of international trade law. Has knowledge of the substantive field of work in general and of specific areas being supervised. Is able to produce reports and papers on technical issues and to review and edit the work of others. Has diplomatic skills to lecture to expert audiences and ability to manage international meetings. Is able to apply United Nations rules, regulations, policies and guidelines in work situations. Shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observing deadlines and achieving results; is motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations. Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work;
  • Accountability: Takes ownership of all responsibilities and honours commitments; delivers outputs for which one has responsibility within prescribed time, cost and quality standards; operates in compliance with organizational regulations and rules; supports subordinates, provides oversight and takes responsibility for delegated assignments; takes personal responsibility for his/her own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable;
  • Client Orientation: Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client;
  • Managing Performance: Delegates the appropriate responsibility, accountability and decision-making authority; makes sure that roles, responsibilities and reporting lines are clear to each staff member; accurately judges the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish a task and matches task to skills; monitors progress against milestones and deadlines; regularly discusses performance and provides feedback and coaching to staff; encourages risk-taking and supports creativity and initiative; actively supports the development and career aspirations of staff; appraises performance fairly;
  • Judgement/ Decision-making: Identifies the key issues in a complex situation, and comes to the heart of the problem quickly; gathers relevant information before making a decision; considers positive and negative impacts of decisions prior to making them; takes decisions with an eye to the impact on others and on the Organization; proposes a course of action or makes a recommendation based on all available information; checks assumptions against facts; determines that the actions proposed will satisfy the expressed and underlying needs for the decision; makes tough decisions when necessary.

Education

Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in international law or related area. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

Work Experience

A minimum of ten years of progressively responsible experience in commercial law, comparative law or international trade law or a related field, including several years at the international level is required. Additional experience in providing policy-making and other substantive support to governmental or intergovernmental bodies would be an asset. Experience with United Nations policies, procedures and operations is desirable.

Languages

English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the post advertised, fluency in English is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another official United Nations language is an advantage.

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