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Legal Counsel (HQ Team Leader)

Requisition ID:  19144
Region:  Europe (HQ)
Contract type:  Open-ended contract

What we do


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and other situations of violence. We take action in response to emergencies and at the same time promote respect for international humanitarian law (“IHL”). We are an independent and neutral organization, and our mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We work closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or other situations of violence. We direct and coordinate the international activities conducted in these situations.

Purpose of the position


The Office of Corporate Legal Affairs (hereafter “OCLA”) advises ICRC internal clients on all corporate legal issues that affect the organisation but excluding IHL. In particular, it provides legal advice and support aimed at:

  • Promoting and protecting the ICRC’s interests;
  • Enabling the ICRC to carry out its activities and fulfill its ambitions optimally;
  • Assessing legal risks affecting the ICRC as well as advising and supporting the organization in mitigating risks as needed; and
  • Identifying emerging legal and regulatory risks and trends to proactively advise/ influence strategic decision-making.


The ICRC’s Directorate has recently resolved to further strengthen this office with additional legal and non-legal staff. The ICRC’s Head of Corporate Legal Affairs is currently in the process of establishing the new OCLA organisation, with a target launch foreseen in Q3 2022.

Main duties and responsibilities Part 1


Within the OCLA, the Legal Counsel (HQ team leader) is in charge of coordinating all HQ-serving Legal Counsel as Team Leader and provides advice and ad hoc support to the various internal clients at HQ (i.e. on HR/employment law related matters, contractual matters, diplomatic law, administrative law of international organizations, regulatory matters and in general on all legal claims, commitments and liabilities of the organization, etc.).


They are also a technical expert that provides advice and ad hoc support to the OCLA Regional Legal Counsel and to various internal clients in the regions and in delegations within OCLA remit.


Functional responsibilities:


  • Guides, coaches, trains, provides technical support to and supervises HQ-serving Legal Counsel. They may also supervise the work of legal advisers from other units and in the field within the scope of OCLA;
  • Acts as technical line manager for Regional Legal Counsel on a case by case basis;
  • Provides legal advice and support in all areas impacting the ICRC (HR, logistics, procurement, administration, operations, data protection, governance, fundraising, innovation, intellectual property, privileges and immunities, regulatory issues, etc.), with a specific focus on HR/employment and contractual matters;
  • Drafts, reviews and negotiates contracts for the ICRC in all areas needed, and drafts legal opinions;
  • Advises in the context of the adoption of various types of documents (policies, memos, position papers, risk assessments, etc.).

Main duties and responsibilities Part 2


Functional responsibilities continued: 


  • Contributes to determining, and creates the framework for, ICRC risk-responsive strategy;
  • Leads or follows and contributes to decision making processes and internal procedures (notably in the area of compliance, information security, risk management);
  • In support of the General Counsel, represents the ICRC before judicial and administrative bodies for all matters pertaining to their areas of responsibility;
  • Liaises with, supervises and manages external counsel;
  • Promotes change and assists all stakeholders or services impacted within the ICRC by the evolution of OCLA (e.g. advising management teams, assisting services/units or delivering trainings).

The Legal Counsel (HQ team leader) is placed under the hierarchical supervision of the General Counsel, Head of Corporate Legal Affairs. As a team leader and whenever needed, they oversee and support other Legal Counsel placed under their managerial (HQ-serving) or technical lead (Regional) to promote good practice and enhance global consistency.

Education and certification required


  • Advanced university degree in law (M.A. minimum, L.L.M. would be an asset, PhD. a plus);
  • National bar exam a strong asset;
  • Oral and written fluency in English and French;
  • Professional knowledge of Arabic, Spanish or Russian would be an asset;
  • Computer proficiency.

Professional Experience required


  • Typically 12 to 15 years of overall professional experience in particular with HR/employment-related practice or contractual practice;
  • Solid experience in contract law, [Swiss]  employment law, business law, the law of international civil service or equivalent experience in applicable administrative law required;
  • Solid experience either in-house or in a law firm on corporate legal matters with a multinational dimension required;
  • Experience in the legal sector with IO/NGO entities is a strong asset;
  • Proven management track record of supervising other legal professionals or coordinating a team on content-related issues in a multicultural environment a plus;
  • Field experience handling legal issues is an asset;
  • Good knowledge of the non-profit and international organization sector;
  • Knowledge or experience of the ICRC is an asset.

Additional information


  • Location: Geneva
  • Type of contract: Open-ended contract
  • Type of role: HQ resident contract
  • Grade: C2
  • Activity rate: 100% 
  • Estimated start date: September 2022
  • Application deadline: Sunday, the 29th of May 2022, 11:59PM GMT 


The ICRC values diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates.