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Counsel - Legal
World Bank
Job Expired 1 Mar 2024
Posted 1 month ago
Job Description



Working at the World Bank Group provides a unique opportunity for you to help our clients solve their greatest development challenges. The World Bank Group is one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries; a unique global partnership of five institutions dedicated to ending extreme poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development. With 189 member countries and more than 120 offices worldwide, we work with public and private sector partners, investing in groundbreaking projects and using data, research, and technology to develop solutions to the most urgent global challenges. For more information, visit

The Legal Vice Presidency (LEGVPU) is responsible for providing legal support to internal and external World Bank clients on operational, advisory and corporate matters. The Operations Policy Unit (LEGOP), under the Chief Counsel, provides advice and expertise on operational policies in support of the development, implementation and application of operational policies, as well as provision of advisory and specialized legal services (including elaboration of global public goods), as described below.  LEGOP works closely with Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) Vice Presidency and other corporate as well as operational units, as well as with LEG Management, and  provides additional, topic-specific advice and assistance to country lawyers regarding operational policies and specialized legal advice as they relate to specific financing operations.  In addition, LEGOP helps to ensure that all World Bank activities comply with the institution's Articles of Agreement, as well as its operational policies and procedures.

LEGOP invites qualified candidates to apply for two Counsel positions. The location of the duty station will be Washington, D.C.  The Counsel may be expected to be decentralized during the course of their career in LEG.


The selected candidates will work under the general supervision of the Chief Counsel, with day-to-day guidance provided by one or more Lead or Senior Counsels. Work will also support country related work in a regional operational unit or units for financing of projects, focusing on analysis of project proposals, drafting of necessary contracts, negotiating those contracts, and participating in the supervision of their implementation, all in support of investments in all sectors and work will also include advising country management on operational, institutional and other matters that arise from time to time in the country offices. The Counsel will be a lawyer who can operate independently to handle legal, operational and policy issues related to the Bank’s operations while working collaboratively with other lawyers within the Practice Group and LEG as a whole.

The location of the duty station will be Washington, D.C.  The Counsel may be expected to be decentralized during the course of their career in LEG.

Duties & Accountabilities:

The Counsel position requires demonstrated ability of rigorous analytical skills, to work harmoniously in a team, and to exercise good judgment. The level and quality of these skills will be a determining factor in the selection for the position, and references will be wgiven consideration in this determination.

The Counsel will be expected to handle at least some of the following areas of responsibility:

- Cover a broad portfolio within a functional area, providing risk-based advice to clients on legal and policy issues in one or more areas of concentration, with a particular focus on policies and practices related to fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV) agenda of the World Bank, partnerships with international organizations and development partners (including co-financing), operational policies, fiduciary polices including disbursements, audit institutions, and relationships with partners,;


- On FCV issues, provide risk-based advice on the operationalization of the recently updated FCV Policy and on particularly sensitive areas such as dealings with de facto governments, working with security and military actors, engagements with non-state actors, effect of international and bilateral sanctions, as well as working with UN Agencies, NGOs, and non-members;

- Engage in policy discussions and negotiations with officials internally and externally, developing relationships with members of the legal profession and lawyers working in development partner agencies;

- Conduct comparative legal analyses on a range of issues in a given area, identify legal and policy issues, research for relevant precedents, and propose appropriate solutions to colleagues and clients;

- Provide legal support to ongoing projects and programs, including reviewing project and program documents for adherence to World Bank Group legal policies and procedures and business objectives;

- Advise project teams on World Bank policies and procedures;

- Prepare legal memoranda on pertinent legal issues, including on matters related to local law (at the national and sub-national levels) and international law;

- Support the development of policies, procedures and guidance and delivery of trainings to operationalize the Evolution Roadmap proposals, including on Operational Effectiveness and Efficiencies (OEE), Crisis Toolkit, and other innovative initiatives;

- Assist with the strategic engagement with the Board of Executive Directors;

- Participate in missions and negotiations within the above functional areas;

- Provide guidance to Administrative Client Support staff and/or paralegals on processing of project documentation;

- Protect World Bank Group's interests and promote its goals and values;

- Write and review policy papers, undertake legal research on topics in area of concentration and contribute to dissemination of policy and best practices in a given field;

- Prepare legal briefs on diverse topics, as required;

- Work to advance the LEG VPU’s knowledge management agenda and use of technology; and

- Perform ad hoc assignments as requested by the Chief Counsel or designated Lead/Senior Counsel.

Selection Criteria

Preferred Education/Experience:

- An LLM degree, J.D. or equivalent, with at least five years relevant experience and admission to the Bar (or equivalent) in at least one jurisdiction is required.

- Excellent oral and written English skills required. Additional languages (French, Spanish, Arabic or Portuguese) are a strong plus.

General competencies required:

- Excellent legal research, writing, drafting, analytical and communications skills;
- Excellent interpersonal skills;
- Experience in international, commercial or contract law, in transactional legal and/or policy work including the preparation and negotiation of legal agreements and policy papers;
- Excellent legal drafting skills, including of agreements, legal memos, policy papers, and other legal documents;
- Familiarity in the use of varied legal research sources (including electronic sources on the internet) and other databases;
- Familiarity, ability to learn and adapt to the use of technology, specifically on legal operations, including AI tools;
- Proven ability to operate effectively as a member of one or more teams; must be a self-starter and collaborate well with others; ability to exercise sound judgment in recognizing what issues to bring to the attention of the Chief Counsel and/or another supervising Counsel, and which to handle autonomously;
- Proven ability to deal sensitively in multicultural and multi-ethnic environments and build effective working relationships with clients and colleagues;
- Ability to supervise and work with local counsel in a collaborative and collegial way; and
- Ability to work under time pressure and to juggle multiple tasks within tight deadlines.

Other competencies required:

- Legal Drafting, Research, Communication:Proven ability to draft transactional documentation (e.g., loan agreements), briefs and variety of legal instruments and related documents independently.Conducts research as necessary to acquire insight and information.Is aware of the need for precision and focus on quality.Uses a writing style that is clear and precise.

- Negotiation: Demonstrates strong negotiation skills, effectively representing and advocating for organizational interests in various transactions – especially with UN organizations and other development partners. Skilled in finding common ground and fostering agreement while maintaining a focus on achieving favorable outcomes. Possesses the ability to navigate complex discussions, anticipate counterarguments, and prepare strategic responses to advance negotiations successfully.

- World Bank Legal and Policy Framework: Has an extensive knowledge of the World Bank's legal framework, policies and procedures and can apply them correctly and consistently.Identifies where these policies are not being applied or not being applied as intended and informs the appropriate parties.

- Independence: Carries out work with due care, preparing accurate documents and reports, ensuring that pertinent facts are fairly presented without seeking to obfuscate (either through too much information or withholding relevant information).Interprets information in an objective manner, exercising professional skepticism when required. Does not divulge or exploit confidential information.

- Professional Maturity: Understands others and the reasons for their behavior. Takes the time to clarifying others' points of view so that progress can be made particularly in situations of stress or conflict. Proven ability to deal sensitively and effectively across organizational boundaries, as a team member, in multi-cultural environments and build effective working relations with clients and colleagues.

- Legal Reasoning:Breaks down problem into their component parts.Articulates the implications of situations in a step-by-step way.Remains objective when reviewing problems or situations to understand the issues.Makes sure he/she possesses all the facts.

- Recommends and takes decisive action:Applies critical thinking and seeks inputs and experience from others to recommend a course of action consistent with the WBG’s strategy.Evaluates risk and anticipates the short and long-term implications of decisions.Commits to a decision and takes action once a decision has been reached.

- Client Orientation:Takes personal responsibility and accountability for timely response to client queries, requests or needs, working to remove obstacles that may impede execution or overall success.

- Flexibility:Able to adapt strategy, and objectives, making corresponding structural or organizational changes as needed, to move the work forward and meet the needs of the situation.

- Business Judgment and Analytical Decision Making:Analyzes facts and data to support sound, logical decisions regarding own and others' work.

- Create, Apply, Share Knowledge: Leverages department’s expertise and body of knowledge across WBG to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions. Seeks to learn from more experienced staff to deepen or strengthen their professional knowledge and helps others to learn. Builds personal and professional networks inside and outside the department.

- Deliver Results for Clients: Adds value by constantly looking for a better way to get more impactful results; sets challenging stretch goals for oneself. Immerses oneself in client experiences and perspective by asking probing questions to understand unmet needs. Demonstrates accountability for achieving results that have a development impact and financial, environmental and social sustainability. Identifies and proposes solutions to mitigate and manage risks. Takes personal responsibility and accountability for timely response to client queries, requests or needs, and works to remove obstacles that may impede execution or overall success.

- Makes Smart Decisions: Seeks diversity of information and inputs, researches possible solutions, and generates recommended options. Identifies and understands risks and proposes recommendations. Based on risk analysis makes decisions in a timely manner within own area of responsibility, considering the interests and concerns of stakeholders.

- Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries: Appropriately involves others in decision making and communicates with key stakeholders.Approaches conflicts as common problems to be solved. Actively seeks and considers diverse ideas and approaches displaying a sense of mutuality and respect. Integrates WBG perspective into work.

The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.  

Values, Leadership Potential

- Demonstrated commitment to the World Bank Core Values for WBG and a proven track record of fostering a strong and healthy culture of diversity, inclusion, teamwork, honesty, trust, openness, integrity, and accountability.

- Demonstrated ability to be sensitive to issues around race, gender, ethnicity, inclusion, and intersectionality.

- Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and foster a positive working environment.

- Demonstrated commitment to the Bank’s mission, and ability to work towards WBG's corporate targets for successful outcomes.

- A strong results-oriented mindset.

Employment Value Proposition

The World Bank Group (WBG) offers comprehensive benefits including a retirement plan; health (medical dental, pharmacy, vision), life and disability insurance; generous annual leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Please note that certain benefits may vary based on appointment type (Term or Extended-Term Consultant/Temporary; HQ or Country Office appointment). We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

The WBG aspires to remain competitive in all markets by providing compensation that attracts and retains top talent to deliver on the WBG mission of reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity and promoting sustainable development.
WBG entry salaries are determined based on the grade, years of relevant experience and internal comparators. Consistent with our entry salary methodology, new hires are likely to be offered a salary between the minimum and midpoint of the salary scale for the advertised grade. In addition to the base-line salary, international staff posted to a field assignment receive generous field benefits and those at HQ receive.

World Bank Group Core Competencies

The World Bank Group offers comprehensive benefits, including a retirement plan; medical, life and disability insurance; and paid leave, including parental leave, as well as reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

We are proud to be an equal opportunity and inclusive employer with a dedicated and committed workforce, and do not discriminate based on gender, gender identity, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

Learn more about working at the World Bank and IFC, including our values and inspiring stories.

This position is no longer open.