UN Offices

Intern (Legal Affairs)

UN Offices

Job Description


Org. Setting and Reporting

The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs (DOALOS/OLA) is recruiting interns for the period from April 2023 to September 2023. We are seeking motivated applicants who wish to gain professional experience in ocean affairs and the law of the sea within an international organization in order to supplement their knowledge, skills and studies. This internship will provide practical experience in ocean affairs and the law of the sea and an opportunity to work in a multicultural, intergovernmental organization. Under supervision, interns are assigned to projects and tasks which will provide them with the opportunity to apply and further develop their knowledge in ocean affairs and the law of the sea.


Responsibilities of internship positions range widely, encompassing many aspects of DOALOS/OLA's work.

These responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

•Assistance in conducting legal research on issues related to ocean affairs and the law of the sea using multiple research resources.
•Assistance in the review of legal documents, instruments or other material.
•Assistance in drafting and preparing official and legal documents.
•Attending and taking notes at conferences and meetings.
•Assistance in servicing conferences and meetings.
•Working on website and/or presentations.
•Perform other duties as assigned.


Applicants must demonstrate a keen interest in the work of the United Nations and have a personal commitment to the ideals of the Charter of the United Nations. Applicants must have the ability to work effectively in a team in a multicultural environment, work collaboratively with colleagues and external counterparts, and successfully interact with individuals of different cultural backgrounds and beliefs. Applicants must also demonstrate gender-sensitive and non-discriminatory behavior and attitudes. In addition, they must have good drafting and oral communication skills, and be computer literate in standard Software Applications.

Speaks and writes clearly and effectively; listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and exhibits interest in having two-way communication; tailors language, tone, style and format to match audience; demonstrates openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

Works collaboratively with colleagues to achieve organizational goals; solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise; is willing to learn from others; places team agenda before personal agenda; supports and acts in accordance with final group decision, even when such decisions may not entirely reflect own position; shares credit for team accomplishments and accepts joint responsibility for team shortcomings.

Considers all those to whom services are provided to be “clients” and seeks to see things from clients’ point of view; establishes and maintains productive partnerships with clients by gaining their trust and respect; identifies clients’ needs and matches them to appropriate solutions; monitors ongoing developments inside and outside the clients’ environment to keep informed and anticipate problems; keeps clients informed of progress or setbacks in projects; meets timeline for delivery of products or services to client.


The degree programme which applicants are enrolled in or have recently graduated from must be in law, or otherwise another field of study that is closely related to the work of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea.

Applicants to the United Nations Internship Programme must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:

(a)Be enrolled in, or have completed, a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher); or,
(b)Be enrolled in, or have completed, the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum bachelor's level or equivalent).

Work Experience

No working experience is required to apply for the United Nations Internship Programme. Your training, education, advance course work or skills should benefit the United Nations during your internship.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat. For the internship advertised, fluency in English (both oral and written) is required. Knowledge of French is desirable. Knowledge of another United Nations official working language, i.e. Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish, is an advantage.


Due to the large number of applications, ONLY shortlisted applicants will be contacted directly by Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea. Interviews may be held with applicants.

Special Notice


Please create and complete a Candidate Profile with a Motivation Statement in the UN e- Recruitment platform, Inspira, at https://inspira.un.org. In your Candidate Profile, please indicate if you are proficient in the English language and be sure to include all relevant information concerning your education and work experience, if applicable, with special emphasis on ocean affairs and the law of the sea, as well as IT skills, and three references.

Candidate Profile MUST include the following details below.

1.Title of the degree currently being pursued, or recently completed, and the specific subjects taken.
2.Expected graduation date from the degree programme, or graduation date if already graduated.
3.A description as to why you believe you are qualified for this specific internship as a result of your education and/or work experience in the field of ocean affairs and the law of the sea.
4.A description of why you are interested in the United Nations Internship Programme.
5.The IT skills and programmes in which you are proficient.
6.A clear indication of the time frame of your availability for the internship during the period between April 2023 and September 2023.

*The United Nations Secretariat is committed to achieving 50/50 gender balance in the organization. Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this internship programme.

Important Note:

• Internship positions are full-time. The duration of an internship in OLA is a minimum of two (2) months to a maximum of six (6) months depending upon the particular needs of the Division.

• Internships in OLA are not paid. Travel costs, travel arrangements (including visas), and living accommodations are the responsibility of the intern or their sponsoring institution.

• Remote internships may be offered to candidates upon their request and if agreed by the manager.

• OLA interns are not eligible to apply for, or be appointed to, any position in the professional or above categories, within the UN Secretariat for a period of six (6) months following the end of their internship. Any employment with the UN at that point in time shall be subject to established recruitment and selection procedures.

For more information about the United Nations internship Programme in general, please visit https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx For details on OLA's mandate and the specific functions of its divisions, please visit our internet site at: www.un.org/ola
For details on DOALOS/OLA's mandate and functions, please visit: www.un.org/ola/en/content/div-doalos

United Nations Considerations

According to article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations, the paramount consideration in the employment of the staff is the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. Candidates will not be considered for employment with the United Nations if they have committed violations of International Human Rights law, violations of international Humanitarian Law, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment, or if there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have been involved in the commission of any of these acts. The term “sexual exploitation” means any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another. The term “sexual abuse” means the actual or threatened physical intrusion of a sexual nature, whether by force or under unequal or coercive conditions. The term “sexual harassment” means any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, and when the gravity of the conduct warrants the termination of the perpetrator’s working relationship. Candidates who have committed crimes other than minor traffic offences may not be considered for employment.

Due regard will be paid to the importance of recruiting the staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible. The United Nations places no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. The United Nations Secretariat is a non-smoking environment.

The paramount consideration in the appointment, transfer, or promotion of staff shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, competence, and integrity. By accepting an offer of appointment, United Nations staff members are subject to the authority of the Secretary-General and assignment by him or her to any activities or offices of the United Nations in accordance with staff regulation 1.2 (c). In this context, all internationally recruited staff members shall be required to move periodically to discharge new functions within or across Duty Stations under conditions established by the Secretary-General.

Applicants are urged to follow carefully all instructions available in the online recruitment platform, inspira. For more detailed guidance, applicants may refer to the Manual for the Applicant, which can be accessed by clicking on “Manuals” hyper-link on the upper right side of the inspira account-holder homepage.

The evaluation of applicants will be conducted on the basis of the information submitted in the application according to the evaluation criteria of the job opening and the applicable internal legislations of the United Nations including the Charter of the United Nations, resolutions of the General Assembly, the Staff Regulations and Rules, administrative issuances and guidelines. Applicants must provide complete and accurate information pertaining to their personal profile and qualifications according to the instructions provided in inspira to be considered for the current job opening. No amendment, addition, deletion, revision or modification shall be made to applications that have been submitted. Candidates under serious consideration for selection will be subject to reference checks to verify the information provided in the application.

Job openings advertised on the Careers Portal will be removed at 11:59 p.m. (New York time) on the deadline date.

No Fee


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