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Legal Opportunities at UN: YPP for Law Professionals

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Legal Opportunities at UN: YPP for Law Professionals

March 20, 2021

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes


un jobs for law professionals

Do you think that only International Relations students and young professionals have a chance of getting a job at the United Nations? Do you believe you’re not supposed to have a rewarding international experience in your field?

In this article, you will discover why, if you think these things, you are – fortunately – wrong!

The United Nations system has a complex structure composed of many agencies, funds, and programs, each with departments and offices in every corner of the world. In these UN agencies, there are many opportunities for law professionals.

In pursuit of its mission, the OpenIGO network has prepared a comprehensive eBook and support and guidance services, with the aim of highly increasing your chances of success in these competitive processes. These services include revising your UN application documents (curriculum vitae/resume and cover letter) and a mock interview, as per the United Nations model.

As you go through the chapters of the eBook, “UN Careers for Law Professionals”, you will discover what the competencies, requirements, and most common tasks performed by law professionals at the UN are. Moreover, we will bring you updated information about the agencies offering the greatest number of internships and job opportunities, as well the most common countries and positions by grade level.

For more info, access:

UN Law Careers – Products & Services

Among the possibilities of becoming a United Nations staff member, there are opportunities for young professionals that are different from general internship programs – which do not require previous experience. Usually, these opportunities are aimed at individuals who are under 32 years of age, have 1 or 2 years of experience in relevant work, and are nationals of a member/donor country of the specific UN System organization.

Here, we will present a brief explanation of legal opportunities at the UN, focusing on the Young Professionals Programs (YPP). It’s just a small sample of all the information covered by our eBook. Get a copy today!


UN YPP for Law Professionals

The United Nations Young Professionals Program (UN YPP) is one of the main United Nations recruitment programs and it seeks highly qualified candidates from their member countries to work at the UN Secretariat. It is a highly competitive program, especially due to the good working conditions it offers. Therefore, it’s perfect for those looking for legal opportunities at UN.

Selected candidates are also offered a two-year fixed-term contract, which enables them to initiate their professional careers with the UN Secretariat. After two years of experience, a continuing contract may be granted, dependent on satisfactory performance.

For the UN YPP selection process, applicants are invited to apply for different exam subjects, depending on the United Nations’ staffing needs. Responsibilities, expected competencies, and education requirements differ not only in each vacancy but also depending on the field of the work.

The United Nations divides its staff working areas into job networks and job families. Within the same department, job networks and job families may co-exist, forming a staff team with multidisciplinary knowledge and skills. But what are these?

Each network encompasses a group of job families with common, related and interrelated fields of work and functions. Job families, in turn, are occupations and sub-occupations, grouped into a common field of work.

Every year, the UN YPP application lists job categories according to these networks and families and, based on the area you select, you will know what to study for your entrance exam. The job opportunities change on an annual basis and could be available for an entire network or just for specific job families.

Here are the Job Networks/Job Families that accept professionals with legal background:

Management and Administration (MAGNET)Economic, social and development network (DEVNET)Political, Peace and Humanitarian Network (POLNET)Legal Network (LEGALNET)Internal Security and Safety Network (SAFETYNET)
AuditDrug Control and Crime PreventionCivil AffairsJuristsSecurity
EthicsSocial AffairsHuman Rights AffairsLegal AffairsSafety
Inspection and EvaluationElectoral AffairsHumanitarian Affairs
InvestigationPolitical Affairs
ProcurementRule of Law
Security Institutions

It is also crucial to know the requirements, so here are the basic eligibility criteria that candidates must meet in order to apply for the UN YPP:

  • Be 32 years old or younger. The minimum age, in order to be eligible to apply, is 18 years old.
  • Fluency in English or French is required. Knowledge of another UN official language (Arabic, Chinese, Russian and/or Spanish) is considered an advantage.
  • The list of eligible nationalities changes on an annual basis and, in order to apply, candidates must hold the nationality of a minimum of one of the pre-selected member states.
  • Hold a first-level university degree (Bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree of a minimum of three years) relevant for the exam area you are applying for.
  • Previous professional experience is not required.

OpenIGO has prepared a series of products and services with a special focus on the UN Young Professionals Program (UN YPP) and other UN careers.

For more information, access the following link:

Click Here

WBG YPP for Law Professionals

If you have a strong desire to work in international development and you hold a Master’s or doctorate qualification, as well as have professional experience, perhaps the World Bank Group Young Professionals Program (WBG YPP) is the ideal for you.

From 2020 onwards, the program has started to select candidates for three of the group’s institutions, the World Bank, IFC and MIGA, to replace the individual YP selection programs for each of those. Being considered WBG’s most rewarding program, the WBG YPP is a program designed to select highly qualified young professionals who have technical knowledge, experience and the capacity for leadership.

Applications for the program usually open in two periods. To serve as an example, here is the timeline for the 2020 WBG YPP. Candidates can expect a similar structure for future programs:

  • Between June 1 and 31 – applications are open for the candidates who fill the requirements for all three institutions;
  • Between August 17 and September 21 – applications re-open for candidates who fill the application requirements for the IFC and MIGA, and did not apply in June.

The minimum requirements to take part in the program are:

  • Being a citizen from any country;
  • Maximum age of 32 on September 30 of the selection year;
  • Fluency in English.

There are also specific requirements to be observed for those who wish to apply for a position at the WB, IFC or MIGA in relation to educational level and work experience:

For candidates seeking a WB vacancy, the requirements are:

  • Complete a relevant graduate degree by June 30 of the selection year or a PhD before September of the upcoming year;
  • Demonstrate 3+ years of relevant experience, or the equivalent in continued study at doctoral level.

For those looking for an IFC or MIGA vacancy, the requirements are:

  • Complete a relevant graduate degree (ex: Master’s in Business Administration, Economics, International Relations, Science, and Engineering) before September of the upcoming year;
  • Demonstrate 4+ years of relevant experience in finance, political risk insurance and credit enhancement, project/program development, economic development and/or consulting. Certifications such as the CFA are a plus.

During the online application process, the candidates must select two areas/units coherent to their professional background. Here are the units’ mandates related to legal themes:

World Bank Placement – Legal Professionals

Global Practice/UnitLegal areasWebsite
Governance• Anti-corruption measures
• Audit & evaluation
Social Protection & Jobs• Design and implementation of labor market regulations
• Pension systems policy
Macroeconomics, Trade and Investment• Fiscal and international trade policy

MIGA Placement – Legal Professionals

Global Practice/UnitLegal areasWebsite
Legal Unit• Audit & evaluation
• Legal-broad
• Dispute resolution
• Policy development

By having access to this information and much more from our eBook, you will certainly have a head start over other candidatesKnowing this and keeping tabs on UN’s latest legal opportunities is the first step in your journey towards a legal career within an international organization!

With that in mind, check out our eBook, “UN Careers for Law Professionals”, to discover all about the opportunities that law professionals have at UN:

UN Law Careers – Products & Services

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