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World Health Organization Hiring Legal Officer

Posted on: 7 Oct 2020 131 views
: Legal Officer
: World Health Organization
: Washington, DC, United States


This requisition is for employment at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO)

Provides legal advice and counsel to PAHO’s Governing Bodies, the D, EXM, PWRs, PAHO Centers, Field Offices and PASB Headquarter entities on all legal matters, such as the application of national and international law to the Organization's programs and activities, and on constitutional, administrative, and procedural matters.  Drafts, reviews and/or negotiates instruments with legal implications for the Organization and represents and defends the Organization before the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization and other national or international judicial and quasi-judicial bodies.  Provides technical cooperation to Member States on health-related legislation and promotes an integrated Human Rights-based approach to the Organization’s work.


Under the general guidance of the Legal Counsel, Office of the Legal Counsel (LEG), and the direct supervision of the Senior Legal Advisor, the incumbent is responsible for, but not necessarily limited to, the following assigned duties:

  1. Review and draft Agreements ensuring that all Agreements submitted to the Director for approval and signature conform to the Organization's rules and procedures and have been properly cleared;
  2. Review and draft legal memoranda and other legal documents including contracts, ensuring that the same conform to the Organization's rules, policies and procedures;
  3. Review the legal aspects of project proposals, draft agreements, correspondence, and other texts and provide appropriate comments to the Project and Agreement Review processes;
  4. Assist in providing legal support to administrative units, especially to the Departments of Human Resources Management (HRM), General Services Operations (GSO), and Procurement and Supply Management (PRO), and other Organizational entities in legal administrative matters as requested;
  5. Research and/or examine precedents on specific issues relating to the functions, structure, and activities of the Organization;
  6. Prepare draft legal opinions on the interpretation of legal instruments such as constitutions, statutes, treaties, agreements, rules and regulations, resolutions, legislation or other legal materials relevant to the work of the Organization;
  7. Facilitate and implement E-Manual processes and workflows, including organizing and managing the review and improvement of Organization policies and procedures; assist in the review and development of revised/new rules, policies, procedures, and model agreements and contracts of the Organization;
  8. Assist in the preparation of briefs to represent the Organization in proceedings before appeal bodies and Administrative Tribunals as well as other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies;
  9. Assist in providing and/or coordinating legal services to various internal committees and to the different Departments and Units, as required; prepare background materials, reports and papers, and assist in the formulation of advice to members of such committees and to the administrative and technical units; research and prepare specific position papers on the legal and ethical implications of various health related issues;
  10. Assist in the development of procedures for the preparation and processing of Agreements and contracts;
  11. Perform other related duties, as assigned.




Essential: A university degree in law with studies in comparative and/or international law from a recognized university; admission to practice in a PAHO Member Country.

In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position.  WHO, 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:  PAHO will also use the databases of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and College Navigator, found on the website of the National Centre for Educational Statistics, to support the validation process.


Essential: Seven years of combined national and international legal experience with emphasis in public international law, contracts, administrative law, technical cooperation agreements and comparative law.


PAHO Competencies:

  • Overall attitude at work: Maintains integrity and takes a clear ethical approach and stance; demonstrates commitment to the Organization’s mandate and promotes the values of the Organization in daily work and behavior; is accountable for work carried out in line with own role and responsibilities; is respectful towards, and trusted by, colleagues and counterparts.
  • Teamwork: Creates team spirit; promotes collaboration and open communication in the team; proactively supports others; welcomes team responsibilities and drives team results; promotes knowledge sharing in the team.  Proactively identifies conflicts and facilitates their resolution in a respectful manner; tactfully resolves conflicts between or with others and takes action to reduce any possible tension; effectively builds a rapport with individuals and teams, establishing good personal and professional relationships, as well as minimizing risk of potential conflict.
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences: Treats all people with dignity and respect. Relates well to people with different cultures, gender, orientations, backgrounds and/or positions; examines own behavior to avoid stereotypical responses; considers issues from the perspective of others and values their diversity.
  • Communication: Foresees communication needs of audience and targets message accordingly.  Facilitates open communication; encourages others to share their views openly and takes time to understand and consider their views.  Writes down ideas in a clear, structured, logical and credible way; drafts and supports the development of guidelines, policies and procedures.  Shares relevant information openly and ensures that the shared information is understood; considers knowledge sharing as a constructive working method and demonstrates awareness of the Organization.
  • Knowing and Managing Yourself: Remains objective and focused even in a “changing and moving” environment; continues to display positive behavior when facing some constraints; keeps challenges in perspective.  Effectively controls own emotions, avoiding displaying them inappropriately; continues to show positive attitude when producing individual results, as well as supporting team’s work; continues to be collaborative with others, even in stressful and challenging circumstances.  Sees feedback as a key element in personal and professional development; displays a high level of self-awareness in response to positive and negative feedback, accepts negative feedback positively, moving forward quickly and constructively. Seeks all relevant information for decision making from a wide range of sources; quickly learns new competencies and skills that expand role capability; shows rapid understanding of new and/or complex information relevant to job.
  • Producing Results:  Prioritizes work and makes planning/Organizational adjustments as necessary; seeks clarification from supervisor on timelines, as needed. Uses feedback and inputs from supervisor to achieve results. Produces quality results and has frequent discussions with supervisor to achieve results. Is action-oriented and sees tasks through to completion. Shows understanding of own role and responsibilities in relation to expected results.  Solicits and accepts direction and guidance from supervisor and team members and takes responsibility for own work and actions, as appropriate.
  • Setting an example: Works ethically to achieve individual work objectives under PAHO Regulation and Rules and the Standards of Conduct of the International Civil Service. Maintains confidentiality and treats sensitive information with discretion; ensures that policies and procedures are followed in accordance with the Organization’s professional, ethical and legal standards. When others behave in an unprofessional or unethical way, promotes appropriate standards and provides feedback in order to remedy the situation; escalates as necessary. Stands by own decisions and actions and accepts responsibility for them. Acts in an open and transparent manner when dealing with others; stands by own and team’s decisions and accepts responsibility for them. Acts to promote the Organization’s success.

Technical Expertise:

  • Expertise in the application of the principles of international and national law to the analysis of administrative, substantive and procedural aspects of the Organization.
  • Sound knowledge with the basic aims, operational and administrative policies and procedures of public international organizations, as well as governmental and nonprofit organizations.
  • Strong professional oral and writing skills, including the development of reports, oral presentations, and technical/persuasive documents for consideration at the highest level of the Organization.


Native English speaker with very good knowledge of Spanish.  Knowledge of French and/or Portuguese would be an asset.

IT Skills:

Demonstrated ability to effectively use a computer and utilize software programs such as Microsoft Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.  Other IT skills and knowledge of other software programs such as Visio, Microsoft SharePoint and Project would be an asset.


Annual Salary: (Net of taxes)

US$60,962 + post adjustment

Post Adjustment: 50.4% of the above figure(s).  This percentage is to be considered as indicative since variations may occur each month either upwards or downwards due to currency exchange rate fluctuations or inflation.



Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.

A written test may be used as a form of screening.

Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to PAHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and e-Manual.

PAHO/WHO is committed to workforce diversity.

PAHO/WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.

PAHO/WHO offers an attractive compensation package including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station and exchange rates (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance).  Other benefits include:  30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance scheme.  Benefits for internationally recruited staff may include home leave, travel and removal expenses on appointment and separation, education grant for dependent children, assignment grant and rental subsidy.

Candidates appointed to an international post with PAHO are subject to mobility and may be assigned to any activity or duty station of the Organization throughout the world.

All applicants are required to complete an on-line profile to be considered for this post. 

Candidates will be contacted only if they are under serious consideration. A written test and/or interview will be held for this post.  The post description is the official documentation for organization purposes.

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