Legal Adviser (contract law) (DG-LS-OO-2020-132-LD)
European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN)
Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
Occupations: Legal Affairs
H Hardship
Apply Now
Added 2 weeks ago
Job Description

Company Description

At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. Using the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments, they study the basic constituents of matter - fundamental particles that are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. Find out more on

Job Description


Do you have proven skills and experience in practicing contract law? Are you keen to work in the Legal Service of one of the world's leading scientific Intergovernmental Organizations, drafting and negotiating high-tech and industrial procurement contracts? Come and join a unique environment whose core value is excellence, and whose defining characteristic is teamwork. CERN, take part!


Working under the responsibility of the Head of the Operational Law Section of the Legal Service and in close collaboration with the Legal Service team, you will provide legal support to the Organization in its procurement activities, involving daily interactions with internal and external parties of diverse professional and national backgrounds.

In particular, working with your colleagues in the Legal Service, in the Procurement and Industrial Services Group and in the relevant CERN Department(s), you will:

  • Provide legal support for the establishment of invitations to tender, many of which are of strategic importance for the success of the Organization's scientific programme;
  • Draft and negotiate commercial contracts, including with suppliers of advance technology items; with contractors undertaking major civil engineering works on the CERN site; with industrial partners performing sophisticated R&D work for CERN; and with providers of financial and similar services, including to the Organization's Pension Fund;
  • Review and update the legal framework applicable to CERN’s procurement activities, including the general conditions of contracts; prepare templates for invitations to tender and contracts; and provide related in-house training in these areas;
  • Establish litigation strategies and defend CERN in legal disputes involving its suppliers, including in adjudication and arbitration proceedings. Liaise with external legal counsel, where appropriate;
  • Provide advice and guidance on data protection/privacy matters arising in CERN’s procurement activities.

In addition to your core portfolio, you may be assigned work in other legal domains, such as scientific collaborations, intellectual property, and fundraising and outreach.


Master's degree or equivalent relevant experience in the field of private law or a related field.


  • Solid relevant professional experience as a lawyer, preferably acquired in a corporate environment or a law firm;
  • Experience in drafting and negotiating contracts with an international dimension;
  • Exposure to the laws of CERN’s Host States (Switzerland and France) and EU law would be a strong asset.

Technical competencies:

  • Drafting of commercial documents for a supply or a service contract;
  • Knowledge of Contract Law.

Behavioural competencies:

  • Working in teams: understanding when teamwork is required to achieve the best results; including others accordingly and sharing information.
  • Communicating effectively: expressing opinions, ideas and suggestions with conviction and in a logical/structured manner; keeping to the point; demonstrating a pro-active approach to resolving differences; addressing issues of conflict constructively.
  • Achieving results: having a structured and organised approach towards work; being able to set priorities and plan tasks with results in mind.

Language skills:

  • Excellent spoken and written English, including demonstrated drafting skills.
  • Working knowledge of French would be a strong asset.

Additional Information

Eligibility and closing date:

Diversity has been an integral part of CERN's mission since its foundation and is an established value of the Organization. Employing a diverse workforce is central to our success. We welcome applications from all Member States and Associate Member States.

This vacancy will be filled as soon as possible, and applications should normally reach us no later than 06.12.2020.

Employment Conditions

Contract type: Limited duration contract (5 years). Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.

Job grade: 6-7

Job reference: DG-LS-OO-2020-132-LD

Benchmark Job Title: Legal Adviser

About CERN

At an intergovernmental meeting of UNESCO in Paris in December 1951, the first resolution concerning the establishment of a European Council for Nuclear Research (in French Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) was adopted.Two months later, an agreement was signed establishing the provisional Council – the acronym CERN was born.Today, our understanding of matter goes much deeper than the nucleus, and CERN's main area of research is particle physics. Because of this, the laboratory operated by CERN is often referred to as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.

Physicists and engineers at CERN use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – fundamental particles. Subatomic particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives us clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature. We want to advance the boundaries of human knowledge by delving into the smallest building blocks of our universe.

The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe's first joint ventures and now has 23 member states.