Legal Consultant, Legal Unit, Office of the Executive Director

Contract Type: Consultancy
Closing date: 26 February 2021 - 5:00pm(New York time)
Duty station: New York, USA

Job Purpose:

The procurement of goods and services, and in particular the procurement of reproductive health pharmaceuticals and medical devices, constitutes a core function of UNFPA, mandated by the Executive Board in a number of Board decisions and in the financial regulations approved by the Board. Under the mandate of UNFPA, such procurement may be undertaken for and on behalf of UNFPA as well as on behalf and at the request of third parties (such as governments, including their Ministries of Health; inter-governmental organizations; or non-government organizations, such as social marketing organizations). In addition, UNFPA conducts procurement for administrative purposes. UNFPA procurement currently amounts to a volume of approximately US$400 Million per annum. Procurement by its nature is a high risk operation that requires timely legal support and advice.

The principle purpose of this position is to make it possible for the LU to provide practical, real-time and sound legal advice on legal issues relating to all phases of procurement (from the planning stage, through the solicitation, evaluation, selection and contracting stages, to transportation and delivery).

Organizationally, the job is motivated, in significant part, by the need to control and mitigate organizational risk (which is inherent in complex, high-value procurement operations involving partners with various levels of institutional know-how) and maintain the highest level of legal quality in UNFPA contracting. By availing of main-streamed legal support and advice in its procurement operations, UNFPA will mitigate the risks inherent to procurement and will increase their efficiency and robustness.

Main duties and functions.

  1. Lead on the formulation and provision of legal support and advice to UNFPA’s Procurement Services Branch (PSB) and UNFPA Country Offices (COs) in all phases of the procurement process, including planning, formulation of specifications, solicitation, evaluation, selection, buying, transportation and shipment, and delivery;
  2. Spearhead the negotiation, formulation and conclusion of high quality legal instruments relating to complex and high-value procurement transactions, including special conditions of contracts for goods and services, contracts for professional services, purchase orders, long term agreements, framework agreements with third-party customers, pro-forma invoices and order confirmations for third party procurement, contracts for works (as necessary), and other commercial contracts;
  3. Acquire and maintain an excellent, in-depth understanding of programme and procurement policy and, on that basis, develop and continuously improve UNFPA general conditions of contract that achieve the delivery of UNFPA mandated activities. Be an institutional authority on the meaning, purpose and interpretation of general conditions of contract.
  4. Provide authoritative legal advice and assistance in management’s negotiations and other interactions with UNFPA business partners; commercial contractors, suppliers and vendors; Governments, non-government organizations, development banks; and other partners in procurement. Take the lead in working out legal solutions for complex business issues and build consensus in-house as well as with external partners around those proposals for solutions.
  5. Conduct negotiations, conciliations, mediations and arbitrations of commercial disputes with vendors/contractors, as necessary. In particular, drive the development of options for compromise and manage the relating settlement negotiations. Provide authoritative legal support and advice to UNFPA management in those alternative dispute resolution negotiations, develop suitable proposals for settlement, and draft high-quality settlement agreements disposing of legal disputes and claims against UNFPA with finality;
  6. Provide authoritative legal advice to senior management on procurement policy;
  7. Provide authoritative legal advice on issues relating to UN privileges and immunities arising in procurement. Manage the resolution of such disputes with government agencies (often under narrow deadlines) in a manner that protects UNFPA’s financial and policy interests;
  8. Represent Legal Unit ex officio on UNFPA Contracts Review Committee and take other actions regarding contracts review assigned to Legal Unit under the Procurement Procedures;
  9. Provide authoritative legal support and advice on other legal issues as from time to time required.

A. Key Outcome

The availability of real-time legal support and advice for the procurement function will significantly mitigate UNFPA’s risks inherent in its procurement operations and commercial transactions, and will contribute to the increase in quality, efficiency and robustness of UNFPA procurement transactions.

B. Key Outcome

Erroneous legal advice seriously exposes the organization to considerable liability and may result in considerable financial and reputational loss.

Qualifications and Experience Required

  • Advanced university degree in law. 
  • 7 years of progressive experience in relevant private legal practice or in-house legal practice with a government, NGO, business corporation or similar organization.
  • Excellent analytical competencies
  • Solid, high quality legal skills
  • Very good drafting skills in the English language. Knowledge of other official languages of the UN is an additional asset
  • Very good negotiating skills
  • Great team-working skills
  • Solid understanding of operational and structural requirements in development and humanitarian cooperation by UN agencies with member states
  • Solid understanding of the business side of UN management;
  • Fluency in English; knowledge of other official UN languages, preferably French and/or Spanish, is desirable.

Duration:  6 months remote work.  The Legal Consultant temporarily fill the position of a Legal Specialist on maternity leave. 

Compensation and Benefits

This position will pay a fee comparable with P-4 (gross salary without post adjustment).


UNFPA is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply.  All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNFPA does not charge any application, processing, training, interviewing, testing or other fee in connection with the application or recruitment process. Fraudulent notices, letters or offers may be submitted to the UNFPA fraud hotline

How to Apply:

Interested and qualified candidates can submit their CVs/Resume and Cover Letter to the email:, with  "Legal Consultant" in the subject by  26 February 2021.


We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

UNFPA Headquarters New York

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