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Legal Officer


  • Organization: WHO - World Health Organization
  • Location: Geneva
  • Grade: Mid level - P-4, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Legal - Broad
  • Closing Date: 2023-12-05


To provide the legal input, during the planning and implementation of the Organization's activities, so as to facilitate effective co-operation between those taking part - Member States, international bodies, international officials, collaborating institutions, and individuals and commercial entities; to ensure that the activities are carried out on a firm legal basis; to protect the Organization's legal interests and defend it from legal action.


  1. Commercial legal issues, in particular contracts, intellectual property, and international legal issues relating to the Organization's programmatic and operational activities. This includes advice to technical units, on legally sound courses of action that comply with WHO policy, and where applicable, private and international law, and that will avoid costly contractual errors, including institutions where there may be no precedents and where new policy may need to be developed. This work involves in particular working on legal and policy issues relating to relations with the private sector, including (i) issues relating to patents, copyright, confidentiality of information, licensing, publication agreements and software development contracts, (ii) collaboration and donation agreements with commercial enterprises and fundraising arrangements with the private sector, and (iii) procurement of supplies, Technical Service Agreements, Agreements for Performance of Work and similar contractual relationships. In addition, the work involves funding and co-operation agreements with governments (including national regulatory agencies), funding agencies and NGOs, including related project documents.
  2. Negotiation, review and drafting of a wide range of contracts, including licensing, publication, donation, fundraising, and product research and development contracts, as well as dispute settlement agreements. This work involves working in close liaison with technical programme staff, in order to understand the technical objectives and needs of the programme, determining the legal needs and objectives of the Organization as a whole, researching and analyzing the applicable national and international law, developing a negotiation strategy, and frequent face-to-face and telephone negotiations with technical units and lawyers of commercial enterprises and other organizations interested in collaborating with the Organization.
  3. General protection of the Organization's legal interests in specific areas such as use of the WHO name and emblem, co-sponsorship of meetings for which commercial involvement is an issue, conditioning of acceptance of donations, and general legal questions confronting international organizations.
  4. Other functions of a legal nature as may be required by the exigencies of the work of the office.




  • An advanced university degree in law, with a specialization in commercial law.


  • Legal studies of more than one legal system.
  • A professional legal qualification, such as having passed a national bar exam.



  • A minimum of seven years' experience practicing commercial law, within the legal department of a government, an international organization or a company, or within a law firm of which at least 4 years of experience as a lawyer in the private sector, practicing commercial law in a variety of legal areas, including in particular contract negotiation and drafting.
  • Experience in practicing commercial law in an international context.
  • Solid experience in negotiating and drafting agreements in a wide range of areas.
  • Demonstrated exposure at the international level.


  • Experience as a lawyer in different jurisdictions.


  • Sound knowledge of private law, in particular commercial law (especially contracts, tort and intellectual property law) as well as a knowledge of international law.
  • Skill in analyzing and organizing facts and in presenting clear, logical and legally sound opinions.
  • Ability to negotiate and draft agreements in a wide range of areas.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a good team worker.

WHO Competencies

  • Teamwork
  • Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences
  • Communication
  • Moving forward in a changing environment
  • Producing results

Use of Language Skills


  • Expert knowledge of English.


  • Intermediate knowledge of French.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 77,326 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 5368 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


  • This Vacancy Notice is for Leave Cover for 6 months
  • This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test and/or an asynchronous video assessment may be used as a form of screening.
  • 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: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
  • According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible.
  • Any appointment/extension of appointment is subject to WHO Staff Regulations, Staff Rules and Manual.
  • Staff members in other duty stations are encouraged to apply.
  • The WHO is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment of mutual respect. The WHO recruits and employs staff regardless of disability status, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, race, marital status, religious, cultural, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, or any other personal characteristics.
  • The WHO is committed to achieving gender parity and geographical diversity in its staff. Women, persons with disabilities, and nationals of unrepresented and underrepresented Member States ( are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Persons with disabilities can request reasonable accommodations to enable participation in the recruitment process. Requests for reasonable accommodation should be sent through an email to

    • An impeccable record for integrity and professional ethical standards is essential. WHO prides itself on a workforce that adheres to the highest ethical and professional standards and that is committed to put the WHO Values Charter into practice.
    • WHO has zero tolerance towards sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA), sexual harassment and other types of abusive conduct (i.e., discrimination, abuse of authority and harassment). All members of the WHO workforce have a role to play in promoting a safe and respectful workplace and should report to WHO any actual or suspected cases of SEA, sexual harassment and other types of abusive conduct. To ensure that individuals with a substantiated history of SEA, sexual harassment or other types of abusive conduct are not hired by the Organization, WHO will conduct a background verification of final candidates.
    • WHO also offers wide range of benefits to staff, including parental leave and attractive flexible work arrangements to help promote a healthy work-life balance and to allow all staff members to express and develop their talents fully.
    • The statutory retirement age for staff appointments is 65 years. For external applicants, only those who are expected to complete the term of appointment will normally be considered.
    • Please note that WHO's contracts are conditional on members of the workforce confirming that they are vaccinated as required by WHO before undertaking a WHO assignment, except where a medical condition does not allow such vaccination, as certified by the WHO Staff Health and Wellbeing Services (SHW). The successful candidate will be asked to provide relevant evidence related to this condition. A copy of the updated vaccination card must be shared with WHO medical service in the medical clearance process. Please note that certain countries require proof of specific vaccinations for entry or exit. For example, official proof /certification of yellow fever vaccination is required to enter many countries. Country-specific vaccine recommendations can be found on the WHO international travel and Staff Health and Wellbeing website. For vaccination-related queries please directly contact SHW directly at
    • WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco.
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    Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
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