Legal Officer, Rome, Italy

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

FAO Rome


Legal Officer

Job Posting: 13/Jan/2023

Closure Date: 03/Feb/2023, 10:59:00 PM

Organizational Unit : LEG

Job Type: Staff position

Type of Requisition : Professional

Grade Level : P-2

Primary Location: Italy-Rome

Duration : Fixed-term: 2 years with possibility of extension

Post Number : 0038156

CCOG Code : 1G02

  • FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background and culture
  • Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented Members and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply
  • Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct, and to uphold FAO’s values
  • FAO, as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, has a zero-tolerance policy for conduct that is incompatible with its status, objectives and mandate, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination
  • All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks
  • All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality
  • FAO staff are subject to the authority of the Director-General, who may assign them to any of the activities or offices of the Organization.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda through FAO Strategic Framework by supporting the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agrifood systems, for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind.

Organizational Setting

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is the specialized Agency of the United Nations leading international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide to achieve food security for all and ensure that people have regular access to high-quality food. As part of the Office of the Director-General, the Legal Office (LEG) provides authoritative legal advice and assistance on a wide range of issues to the Director-General, units in headquarters and in the field, the Governing and Statutory Bodies and Members of the Organization.

The position is located at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, in the General Legal Affairs Service (LEGA). LEGA provides legal advice to all units of the Organization, and its Governing and Statutory Bodies, on constitutional questions, the interpretation of its Basic Texts, international treaties, internal legal rules and policies, as well as on legal aspects of relations with the Host and other Governments, other international organizations, private sector and other entities, and specific legal aspects of personnel matters. It represents FAO in judicial proceedings and in settlements of disputes.

Reporting Lines The Legal Officer reports to the Legal Counsel.

Technical Focus Public international law, law of international organizations/constitutional law, international administrative law and contract law.

Key Results The provision of legal advice and support on questions pertaining to the Organization’s constitutional and legal framework, and its status as a specialized agency of the United Nations system.

Key Functions

  • Assists senior legal officers to prepare and provide advice on various legal issues including on aspects of public international law and international administrative law;
  • Conducts legal research and analysis on questions relating to public international law, international administrative law, the law of international organizations, and international treaty law, having regard to the FAO Basic texts, relevant international treaties and practices;
  • Assists senior legal officers in the review and drafting of legal opinions, agreements, contracts, pleadings, formal correspondence and other legal documents, identifying important issues, similarities, and inconsistencies, etc. on matters falling within the above-listed areas of law;
  • Assists senior colleagues in servicing meetings of Governing and Statutory Bodies , conferences, expert groups and other bodies, including in the preparation of background materials, summaries of issues and views of delegations, meeting reports, etc.;
  • Performs other duties, as required. CANDIDATES WILL BE ASSESSED AGAINST THE FOLLOWING

Minimum Requirements

  • Advanced university degree in law. A first level university degree in Law combined with an additional two (2) years of relevant work experience and with completion of professional qualification to practice law in a national/state jurisdiction may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.
  • Three years of relevant legal experience in public international law, law of international organizations, international administrative law and contract law.
  • Working knowledge (proficient – level C) of English and limited knowledge (intermediate – level B) of another FAO official language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).


  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

  • Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions, is desirable.
  • Working knowledge (proficient – level C) of French or Spanish is desirable.
  • Extent and relevance of experience in providing legal advice on issues of public international law, law of international organizations, international administrative law and contracts, preferably in an international setting.
  • Extent of knowledge of the United Nations system, and the work of a legal office of an intergovernmental organization.

  • Ability to carry out legal research and analysis.
  • Extent and relevance of experience in drafting, reviewing and advising on legal texts and issues, including on matters involving considerable complexity.
  • Knowledge of the laws of Italy is an asset, as well as excellent drafting skills in Italian.

FAO staff are expected to adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency.


  • Extension of fixed term appointments is based on certification of performance and availability of funds
  • FAO reserves the right not to make an appointment.
  • Appointment will be subject to certification that the candidate is medically fit for appointment, accreditation, any residency or visa requirements, and security clearances.


A competitive compensation and benefits package is offered. For information on UN salaries, allowances and benefits, click on the following link: (link) allowances/salary.htm Other benefits, subject to eligibility, include:

  • Dependency allowances
  • Rental subsidy
  • Education grant for children
  • Home leave travel
  • 30 working days of annual leave per year
  • Pension fund entitlements under the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund
  • International health insurance; optional life insurance
  • Disability protection

FAO encourages a positive workplace culture to increase inclusivity and diversity within its workforce. FAO applies measures in which all staff members contribute equally and in full to the work and development of the Organization. This includes:

  • elements of family-friendly policies
  • flexible working arrangements
  • standards of conduct.


  • To apply, visit the recruitment website at Jobs at FAO and complete your online profile. We strongly recommend that your profile is accurate, complete and includes your employment records, academic qualifications, and language skills
  • Candidates are requested to attach a letter of motivation to the online profile
  • Once your profile is completed, please apply, and submit your application
  • Please note that FAO 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 at (link)
  • Candidates may be requested to provide performance assessments and authorization to conduct verification checks of past and present work, character, education, military and police records to ascertain any and all information which may be pertinent to the employment qualifications
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered
  • Personal information provided on your application may be shared within FAO and with other companies acting on FAO’s behalf to provide employment support services such as pre-screening of applications, assessment tests, background checks and other related services. You will be asked to provide your consent before submitting your application. You may withdraw consent at any time, by withdrawing your application, in such case FAO will no longer be able to consider your application
  • Only applications received through the FAO recruitment portal will be considered
  • Your application will be screened based on the information provided in your online profile
  • We encourage applicants to submit the application well before the deadline date.

If you need help, or have queries, please contact: [email protected]