Deputy Legal Adviser - Deputy Director

NATO Direct
9,276.89Euro (EUR) Monthly
Expiry Date

International Staff ,NATO HQ


The Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) at NATO headquarters in Brussels is an Independent Office within the International Staff (IS). It is responsible for providing advice and other legal services to the Secretary General, the IS, the North Atlantic Council and other NATO Committees. From time to time, OLA also advises a number of NATO subsidiary bodies, including Agencies, as well as the NATO Allies directly. OLA is also mandated to represent the wider legal interests of the whole Organization, including by improving legal coordination across different NATO bodies, by advising on the most complex or sensitive legal issues impacting Allies, and in representation before the Administrative Tribunal on cross-cutting legal issues.

OLA advises its clients on all legal matters – domestic and international - impacting the responsibilities, functions, operations and other activities of NATO. The work covers a broad spectrum. At one end, it advises on high-profile and fast-paced international defence and security matters, helps develop associated policy, and facilitates the reaching of consensus amongst allies on strategic legal issues. It also negotiates and drafts international treaties, litigates (externally as well as before the NATO Administrative Tribunal), advises on privileges and immunities, and works on other administrative law matters typical of a large international organization. OLA works closely with legal colleagues across the NATO enterprise and within Allies’ capitals.

The incumbent, who will essentially perform the role of Deputy General Counsel, will be expected to have excellent legal knowledge and skills in all fields of relevance to the Organization. S/he will work independently to a wide and demanding portfolio, help manage the day-to-day running of the office as well as supervise junior lawyers, provide continuity to the office and clients, and serve as the acting Legal Adviser whenever necessary. S/he will be expected to manage and contribute to the whole range of legal issues and activities handled by OLA, to possess excellent analytical and people skills, and to appreciate the relationship between legal and policy issues.


Key Challenges for the next few years include:

#1. Build and develop the OLA legal function in line with client needs;

#2. Facilitate legal coordination across the NATO Enterprise;

#3. Develop NATO into a key forum for Allies’ legal discussions on defence and security matters, including EDTs;

#4. Develop an improved knowledge management system.


The incumbent must possess:

  •  a university degree in law from a recognised establishment and professional legal qualifications as appropriate; at least 12 years' post qualification experience as a lawyer/legal adviser, out of which 5 years in team management and coordination;
  • at least 5 years’ experience in project management, including budgeting and associated corporate functions;
  •  have extensive people management experience and the capacity to lead, motivate and engage diverse and multidisciplinary teams;
  •  a track record of excellence in each of the following: providing legal advice, both orally and in writing, on administrative and public international law matters, negotiating and drafting legal instruments (particularly international treaties), litigating before courts and tribunals, and helping run a legal office;
  •  experience in an International Organization, national ministry or similar context, providing legal advice on issues comparable to those arising at NATO;
  •  experience of working in an international environment in particular; ? a proven ability to provide timely, clear and concise legal advice to senior personnel and to drive issues forward to a successful conclusion;
  •  resilience and experience of managing a significant workload and maintaining calmness under pressure;
  •  a thorough knowledge of the structure, functioning, working procedures and legal issues of International Organisations;
  •  a strategic mindset as well as a practical and collegiate approach to problem solving;
  •  experience working with modern office software, including word processing, PowerPoint, spreadsheets, databases and Internet;
  •  the following minimum levels of NATO’s official languages (English/French): V (“Advanced”) in one; and IV (“Upper-Intermediate”) in the other.


The following would be considered an advantage:

  •  postgraduate studies, or equivalent expertise, in the field of international law;
  •  knowledge of NATO structures, practices, issues and procedures, and of NATO HQ in particular;
  •  firm grasp of the legal framework pertaining to international defence and security matters (including jus ad bellum, International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law, State Responsibility; Status Agreements/Privileges and Immunities);
  • knowledge of the laws of the Host nation (Belgium);
  •  the ability to draft quickly, clearly and concisely in both official languages of the Organization;
  •  experience of directly or indirectly overseeing a litigation workload, including through the adoption of a litigation strategy;
  •  experience of organizing a knowledge management system and associated corporate functions;
  •  a level of V (“Advanced”) in the other NATO official language;
  •  participation in relevant legal scholarship


Vision and Direction

Support the Legal Advisor in developing, communicating and implementing a vision for the future development of the Office to face upcoming challenges in an ever-changing environment. Champion change and federate the OLA team around common objectives, ensuring that vision guides its mid and long-term programme of work. Act as a role model of inclusive leadership and promote resilience, flexibility and innovation.

Expertise Development

Apply knowledge and experience to identify the legal implications/interpretation of internal rules and regulations as required, and ensure correct application of such expertise. Follow major activities in the field of international law of other international organisations, international or national courts and apply, where appropriate, to the activities of the Office. Maintain up-to-date knowledge of legal publications and jurisprudence in the fields relevant to the work of OLA

Knowledge Management

Analyse the legal questions affecting the Organization and NATO-led operations under international and applicable national law, including host nation law. Assist or represent OLA, as required, in the preparation, discussion and finalisation of legal documents to be produced at OLA

Stakeholder Management

Provide advice to senior personnel of the Organization on legal issues related to all assigned fields of work. Assist in, conduct or supervise the preparatory work for the defence of the Organization before any internal or external Board/Tribunal, in co-ordination with the defence of other subsidiary bodies as well as military Headquarters if required. Maintain and develop contacts NATO-wide, including with NATO member Nations, as well as with external legal offices. 

Representation of the organization

Represent OLA or act on behalf of the Legal Adviser in meetings of relevant Committees, Task Forces, Boards, Panels and Working Groups. Represent the Office of the Legal Adviser at seminars, conferences or other gatherings as required. Represent OLA and act on behalf of the Legal Adviser, as required, in legal cases or any other legal issues, within the Organisation, as well as vis-à-vis member Nations, in particular the Host nation, and non-NATO member Nations.

Information Management

Produce legal texts, internal memoranda and other legal documents independently. Give briefings, lectures and other presentations on the legal aspects of NATO related subjects, within and outside of NATO. Ensure that all the procedures for the Information Management are aligned with the overall objectives of OLA

Policy Development

Develop policies to support NATO’s objectives and anticipate the legal implications of policy decisions, as assigned. 

Project Management

Prepare and manage project work as required in OLA, ensuring deliverables are attainable, guiding progress and identifying risks as well as undertake contingency planning.

People Management

As assigned supervise and manage the other staff or teams in OLA. Cultivate a motivating, inclusive and effective workplace. Provide in-depth mentoring, coaching and training opportunities and be available to offer guidance at critical moment. Ensure that all staff under her/his responsibility are clear on Organizational, divisional, Directorate, and Service objectives. Provide regular and fair feedback on performance, informally as appropriate and via the HQ Performance Review and Development (PRD) system. Identify possible development and mobility opportunities for individuals. Contribute information to the Establishment Committee and make recommendations for contract renewal or conversion decisions with the best interests if the Organization in mind. Participate in recruitment procedures for vacant posts in the Service in accordance with NATO recruitment guidelines. 

Financial Management  Prepare submissions and develop implementation of financial plans and budgets to meet OLA goals and objectives. Ensure that expenditure of allocated funds is in line with objectives set for OLA.

Organisational Efficiencies

Continuously identify and implement systems and structural changes to improve workflow and productivity of OLA. Supervise the administrative functioning of OLA.

Planning and Execution

As assigned, allocate work and supervise execution of work assignments and manage teams in OLA ensuring implementation to achieve overall objectives. Serve as Acting Legal Adviser in the Legal Adviser's absence or in the event of vacancy. Perform any other related duty as assigned. 




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