Senior Counsel

Washington, DC, US


World Bank Group Context

Innovation and partnership bond 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 member countries 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.

In the context of the World Bank’s broad development agenda, 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’s activities comply with the institution’s Articles of Agreement, as well as its operational policies and procedures.

Department Context

The Environmental and International Law Practice Group (LEGEN) provides support to internal and external Bank clients to promote environmentally and socially sustainable development, in accordance with Bank policies. LEGEN’s work program includes providing legal advice and services to the Bank’s Regions, Global Practices and other Vice Presidencies including the Operations Policies and Country Services (OPCS) on environmental and social safeguards; the new Environmental and Social Framework; knowledge creation and knowledge sharing; and development of policies and procedures relating to environmental and international law. Topics include environment and natural resource issues such as climate change, biodiversity, pollution, international waters and water resource management, labor and working conditions, as well as social issues such as resettlement and indigenous peoples.

Note: The World Bank Group is committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture and educational background. Female and Sub-Saharan country national candidates are encouraged to apply. Individuals with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Note: If the selected candidate is a current Bank Group staff member with a Regular or Open-Ended appointment, s/he will retain his/her Regular or Open-Ended appointment. All others will be offered a 5 year term appointment.

Duties and Accountabilities:

The Senior Counsel will play a key role assisting with and providing advice on the Bank’s portfolio of projects which address environmental and natural resource law issues, environmental and social safeguard policy issues with particular emphasis on compliance with policy requirements relating to labor and working conditions. This includes working on projects that are the subject of review by the World Bank Inspection Panel and helping coordinate Management’s response to these matters.

Specific duties and accountabilities include:

The Senior Counsel would work under the general supervision of the Chief Counsel, LEGEN and would as part of his/her duties:

1. Serve as Environmental, Social and Natural Resources Legal Advisor.

In close collaboration with the Chief Counsel, LEGEN, the Senior Counsel will be responsible for contact with a wide range of staff and managers in the Sustainable Development Vice Presidency (SDVP), identifying legal advice and assistance that LEGEN can provide to network clients. This work will include helping establish areas where the Bank can support capacity building, and advising Bank programs that provide this support in Bank borrower countries.

2. Act as LEG adviser regarding World Bank Environmental and Social Safeguards/Standards.

The Senior Counsel would, in close consultation with the Chief Counsel, Environmental and International Law, with Lead Counsel and other appropriate LEG staff, provide timely advice on the legal aspects of environmental and social safeguard policies, including providing technical guidance to Bank staff, and to act as a LEG resource in special-risk projects and issues of the development and interpretation of safeguard policies. The Senior Counsel will help ensure the development of a consistent and sound LEG position on significant issues relating to the application of safeguard policies and the new Environmental and Social Framework with a dedicated focus on labor and working conditions, the Environmental Health and Safety Guidelines and relevant international legal instruments. In special or high-risk projects, the Senior Counsel would be available to join the task team if so requested.

3. Support Capacity Building efforts for both Staff and Bank borrower countries.

The Senior Counsel will assist in building the capacity of Bank borrowers and Bank staff regarding environmental and natural resource law issues, as well as environmental and social safeguard issues. The Senior Counsel may also play a key role in the development and implementation of Bank initiatives to harmonize the laws of borrowing member countries with the requirements of Bank safeguard policies, including under the policy that pertains to the Use of Country Systems.

4. Work across a wide range of Bank units

The Senior Counsel will work and interact frequently with:

• Lawyers and managers in LEG VPU.
• Counterparts within Regional Operational Units, Sustainable Development Vice Presidency (SDVP), Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS) and the Regional Vice Presidential (RVP) Units across the Bank.
• Management and staff at HQ and in the field, as required.

Selection Criteria:

Academic qualifications and work experience

• Law degree: JD or LLB, LLM (required) SJD or PhD (optional) and admission to the Bar (or equivalent) in at least one jurisdiction, with 10 years of relevant experience desirable.

• Expertise or familiarity in environmental and natural resources law.

• Expertise or familiarity in labor law.

• Legal transactional experience.

• Ability to work collaboratively, to build trust among peers and colleagues, to respond quickly and consistently to key issues.

• Demonstrated intellectual leadership and ability to integrate knowledge with broader strategic, policy and operational objectives.

• High degree of persuasiveness and diplomacy to generate consensus, especially on divisive legal issues.

• Language skills. Fluency in English, both written and oral, is required, with additional fluency in French, Spanish and/or Portuguese desirable.

General Competencies

• Ability to communicate and defend, orally and in writing, difficult and complex issues and positions to senior Bank management, government officials and NGOs

• Ability to deal sensitively in multi-cultural environment and build effective working relations with clients and colleagues

• Demonstrated ability to effectively mentor/guide staff and design training/skills enhancement initiatives to ensure transfer of knowledge/skills

• Ability to operate effectively across organizational boundaries

• Other competencies required

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 an impact. Identifies and proposes solutions to mitigate and manage risks.

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.

Collaborate Within Teams and Across Boundaries: Ability to build effective working relationships with colleagues in multidisciplinary teams, brings differing ideas into the forefront, and initiates collaboration across boundaries.

Pressure: Ability to handle demands related to the delivery of multiple tasks within demanding and occasionally conflicting time constraints.

Professional Maturity: Understands others and the reasons for their behavior. Takes the time to clarify others’ points of view so that progress can be made, particularly in situations of stress or conflict. Is never condescending or arrogant.