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World Health Organization: Office of the Legal Counsel

The Office of the Legal Counsel provides legal advice, services, and support to the World Health Organization (WHO) during the planning, decision, and implementation of the Organization's policies and activities, protecting the legal status and interests of WHO, and positioning the Organization within a complex and changing international legal and political environment. 

Nature of the Extern's Work and Supervision
The Office of Legal Counsel externship will involve work in a number of areas. In previous years, the range of assignments included:

  • Providing support during WHO governing bodies and other intergovernmental meetings;
  • Providing support in relation to the ILO Administrative Tribunal and internal WHO administrative/grievance bodies;  
  • Providing support on tobacco related matters, including support during the intergovernmental meetings;  
  • Providing support to the clearance process and updating of publications;  
  • Providing assistance on the clearance process of maps involving political interest, as well as on terminology issues;  
  • Expanding, updating, and editing the WHO repertory of legal practice which addresses the interpretation and application of the Organization's Constitution, as well as procedures and practices within its constituent organs, including the WHO Executive Board and World Health Assembly;  
  • Providing support in the preparation of WHO's submissions and contributions, as requested; 
  • Working as needed with other lawyers on assignments involving various types of commercial contracts, WHO Co-sponsorship of events/meetings, grant agreements, and on legal matters relating to WHO hosted partnerships; and  
  • Providing general support of the Office of the Legal Counsel, with a particular emphasis on research and drafting on an "as needed" basis.

important information for Students
The student (3L preferred) should have knowledge of international law and institutions, and an interest in international organizations and cooperation. Working knowledge of French and/or another official language of the WHO would be an advantage. The extern should be capable of working independently and have good interpersonal skills. Persons related to a WHO staff member (e.g. son/daughter, brother/sister) are not eligible for the externship.  The extern must have adequate medical insurance coverage.

To learn more about the World Health Organization, please visit their website.