Legal Advisor and Practice Team Lead

UNOPS, Denmark
UNOPS logo
Job Summary

Job Description

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 the six practice areas of HR, Administration, Legal, Finance, Procurement, Project Management and Infrastructure. IPAS has three main roles:

Support to operations in the field offices: IPAS provides timely advice and supports actively finding of 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 field 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 works under the leadership of the IPAS Legal Team Lead, and under the overall technical Guidance of the General Counsel, in the above 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.

The Team Lead is responsible to ensure that such advice is timely and focuses on providing solutions and results. This requires close interactions not only with country offices, but also with other IPAS teams, the different policy groups within HQ and the regional offices. It also requires a good understanding of the diverse environment in which UNOPS operates.

The incumbent will be 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.

The incumbent will be expected to escalate complex matters outside his/her authority to the Legal Group, led by the General Counsel, and shall report in coordination with the IPAS Manager on matters reviewed by IPAS Legal.

Specific job Functions:

Management of IPAS Legal team

  • Supervise and lead the IPAS Legal team, with a focus on building a strong team through promotion of continuous learning within the office and collaboration across the organization;

  • 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.

Advice on institutional and commercial matters

  • Lead the team in reviewing new engagements and engagement amendments, with a focus on identifying risks and opportunities in close collaboration with other IPAS reviewers;

  • 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;

  • Support the implementation of UNOPS standards and coordinate and review audit responses. Follow-up on the implementation of audit recommendations;

  • Advise on risk mitigation strategies for the organisation;

  • Provide holistic advice in coordination with other IPAS advisors.

Cross-functional integration and process efficiency improvements

  • Contribute to cross-functional initiatives through the provision of high quality advice to ensure that internal policies, processes and systems are aligned with the overall regulatory framework, practical, relevant and add value to organizational operations;

  • Support the development and improvement of UNOPS regulatory framework;

  • Work closely with other units on utilizing and enhancing systems and tools;

  • Contribute with specialist and practical knowledge to the short-term plans and long-term strategies of IPAS towards business efficiencies.

Product/Process-Efficiency Improvement

  • Address client feedback/suggestions, as well as a log on recurrent challenges and make suggestions for long-term solutions through policy/process change;

  • Contribute to the enhancement of policy developments;

  • Recommend solutions and process efficiency initiatives;

  • Contribute as a practice specialist to the development and maintenance of corporate systems and tools;

  • Contribute as practice specialist to resolving corporate-wide challenges by coordinating and developing long-term strategies towards innovative solutions.

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 implementation offices;

  • Keep abreast of 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;

  • Provide training to personnel, addressing corporate and institutional legal issues relevant to field personnel and other internal clients.

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.


  • With an advanced university degree, minimum 8 years of professional experience in law is required;

  • Admission to practice law in any national jurisdiction;

  • At least one year 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;

  • Experience in working with the status and the privileges and immunities of international organizations is desirable;

  • Experience in negotiation and dispute resolution is desirable;

  • Field experience is highly desirable;

  • Strong knowledge of operational processes is essential;

  • Experience with more than one management practice is desirable;

  • A minimum 2 years supervisory experience is required.

Language requirements:

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

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

Contract type, level and duration

  1. Contract type: staff
  2. Contract level: P4
  3. Contract duration: One year initially, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and funding availability
  4. 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.
  • Qualified female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • 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.

Background Information - 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 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.