Do you want to build a career that is truly worthwhile? 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


Innovation and partnership bind the five institutions of the World Bank Group (WBG): the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It uses financial resources and extensive experience to help our client countries to reduce poverty, increase economic growth, and improve quality of life. To ensure that countries can access the best global expertise and help generate cutting-edge knowledge, the World Bank Group is constantly seeking to improve the way it works. Key priorities include delivering measurable results, promoting openness and transparency in development, and improving access to development information and data.

VPU Background:

The Legal Vice Presidency (LEGVP), under the Senior Vice President and Group General Counsel, is responsible for providing legal support to internal and external World Bank clients on operational, advisory and corporate matters. LEGVP provides legal services required by the World Bank and plays an active role in all the World Bank's activities. In addition, LEGVP helps to ensure that all World Bank activities comply with the institution's Articles of Agreement, as well as its operational policies and procedures. Organizationally, LEGVP includes geographically based regional Operational Practice Groups devoted to the legal and policy aspects of the World Bank's lending operations, Policy and Advisory Practice Groups which provide advice on operations policy, environmental and international law, development finance, and Corporate Practice Groups, which provide advice on corporate finance, administrative and institutional
Matters for the World Bank.

LEGAM provides operational legal support to three regions: (i) Africa East and Southern (AFE), (ii) Africa West and Central (AFW); and (iii) Middle East and North Africa (MENA). AFE, AFW and MENA include a mix of low-income, lower- middle-income, and upper-middle income countries, and several fragile states. The World Bank work program across Africa is the largest among all the Regions. The Africa and MENA Regions together represent about 38% of the World Bank’s net commitments and about 41% of its number of projects in addition to a robust and complex trust fund portfolio.

The Selected candidate will be expected, at some point during his/her tenure with the World Bank, to move to Headquarters or another decentralized position in one of the Bank’s Country Offices, as business needs of LEG VPU might require.

Selected candidate will work under the general supervision of the LEGAM Chief Counsels, with day-to-day guidance provided by one or more Lead or Senior Counsels. The Senior Counsel will be a lawyer who can operate independently to handle legal and policy issues related to the Bank’s work while working collaboratively with other lawyers within LEGAM and LEG as a whole.

Note: If the selected candidate is a current World Bank Group Staff Member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. If the selected candidate is a current World Bank Group Staff Member with a Term appointment that expires later than the end date of this appointment, s/he will retain the duration of his/her current Term appointment.

Job Description 

The Senior Counsel position requires demonstrated technical depth, ability to apply rigorous analytical skills, to work harmoniously in a team, and to exercise good judgment within a broad range of contexts on increasingly complex projects. The level and quality of these skills will be a determining factor in the selection for the position, and references will be given consideration in this determination.

The Senior Counsel will function as a principal legal advisor to one or more assigned internal World Bank clients.  The Senior 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 management and staff on legal and policy issues in one or more areas of concentration.

- Draft, review, negotiate and finalize legal documents/financing agreements.

- Successfully deliver legal work on projects and programs and other transactions within client assignments by giving advice on higher risk profile issues with increasing areas of complexity.

- Supervise and guide Counsels, Associate Counsels, Legal Analysts and Paralegals and provide training and advice to them to ensure effective transfer of knowledge and skills.

- Develop innovative approaches and share best practices with colleagues.

- Develop knowledge products and manage tasks independently and as a leader of a team of colleagues.

- Handle issues within an area of specialization to enable clients to create solutions.

Interpret and provide legal advice for adherence to World Bank Group policies and procedures and business objectives.

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

- 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.

- 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.

- Ability to serve in an acting capacity for supervisor.

- Work to advance the LEG VPU’s knowledge management agenda and use of technology; and Perform ad hoc assignments as requested by the manager.

The Senior Counsel position will be based in Accra, Ghana for a duration of 3 years. The selected applicant will be expected to be willing and able to travel to all countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Selection Criteria

An LLM degree, J.D. or equivalent, with a minimum of eight (8) years of 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 or Portuguese preferred; Arabic a plus).

Continuous experience in a reputable private sector law firm and/ or with an international financial organization or Government agency is 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 work and/or preparation and negotiation of legal agreements.

- Excellent legal drafting skills, including of agreements, legal memos and/or well-reasoned litigation pleadings and ability to deliver cogent oral arguments, where applicable.

- Familiarity in the use of varied legal research sources (including electronic sources on the internet) and other databases.

- 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 and Communication: Proven expertise drafting 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.

World Bank Legal and Policy Framework: Previous knowledge of, or ability to quickly learn/navigate, the World Bank's legal framework, policies and procedures to apply them correctly and consistently. Ability to identify where these policies are not being applied or not being applied as intended and inform 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: Creates, applies, and shares knowledge from across and outside the WBG to strengthen internal and/or external client solutions: Ensures systematic sharing of good practice and learning from lessons from across WBG, clients, and partners. Is known across WBG in their subject area and is sought out by WBG colleagues to advise, peer review, or contribute to knowledge products of others. Seeks mentoring opportunities with more experienced staff to deepen or strengthen their professional knowledge.

Mentoring: Provides junior staff with guidance and feedback on both routine and new tasks. Identifies others in the organization or from other parts of the Bank to provide guidance and support.

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, research 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.

Lead and Innovate: Contributes new insights to understand situations and develops solutions to resolve complex problems. Adapts as circumstances require and manages impact of own behavior on others in context of WBG’s values and mission.

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.

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 vacancy is archived.

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