Principal Legal Counsel

  • Position title: Principal Legal Counsel
  • Grade: PL4
  • Position N°: 50000638 / 50000659
  • Reference: ADB/19/108
  • Publication date: 23/05/2019
  • Closing date: 22/06/2019


Established in 1964, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is the premier pan-African development institution, promoting economic growth and social progress across the continent. There are 80 member states, including 54 in Africa (Regional Member Countries).  The Bank’s development agenda is delivering the financial and technical support for transformative projects that will significantly reduce poverty through inclusive and sustainable economic growth. In order to sharply focus the objectives of the Ten Year Strategy (2013 – 2022) and ensure greater developmental impact, five major areas (High 5s), all of which will accelerate our delivery for Africa, have been identified for scaling up, namely; energy, agro-business, industrialization, integration and improving the quality of life for the people of Africa.


The President, plans, supervises and manages the business of the Bank Group. Under the direction of the Boards of Directors, the President conducts the business of the Bank and the African Development Fund and manages operations and activities in accordance with the Agreements establishing the ADB and the ADF. The President supervises several Departments and Units including Office of the President (PRST0); Independent Development Evaluation Department (BDEV); Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department (PIAC); Compliance Review and Mediation Unit (BCRM); Secretariat to the Sanctions Appeals Board (BSAB); Administrative Tribunal (BATR); Office of the Auditor General (PAGL); Group Risk Management Directorate (PGRM);  General Counsel and Legal Services Department (PGCL); Communication and External Relations Department (PCER); Staff Integrity and Ethics Office (PETH) and Office of the Secretary General & General Secretariat(PSEG).


The General Counsel and Legal Services Department (PGCL) delivers legal advice and services to the statutory organs of the Bank group: Boards of the Bank Group (the Bank), to Senior Management, to Directorate General Regional Hubs and more generally to the whole Bank. PGCL also protects the interest of the Bank from legal liability and as necessary ensures an appropriate legal defence in cases filed against or brought by the Bank.

The role of PGCL.4 is to provide legal advice and assistance in connection with (i) litigation of any nature brought by or against the Bank (including legal action against the Bank through its own internal recourse mechanisms), (ii) all legal aspects pertaining to the Bank’s rules, regulations, procedures and processes in respect of human resources management including employment contracts, staff performance management, benefits, discipline and separation, (iii) institutional procurement, (iv) corporate legal issues arising from the interpretation and application of various Bank instruments, and (v) insurance and pension matters, (vi) cooperation with public sector or private sector entities, including NGOs.


The Principal Legal Counsel will ensure the correct interpretation of, and compliance with, the various Bank’s policies, rules, regulations and procedures applicable to staff (including Staff Regulations and Staff Rules,  applicable Presidential Directives and Administrative Instructions), corporate procurement, and delegation of authority.

Under the supervision and guidance of the Division Manager, PGCL.4, the Principal Legal Counsel will:

  1. Advise on constitutional and corporate legal issues arising from the interpretation and application of the Agreement Establishing the African Development Bank  (the Bank) and the African Development Fund (the Fund);
  2. Advise on, draft, vet and revise legal documentation relating to the organization, structure, and administration of the Bank, the Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund (together “the Bank Group”) and the relations of the Bank Group with international organizations and with member and non-member states, including matters pertaining to the privileges, immunities and exemptions of the Bank and the Fund and those of officers, employees, experts and consultants of the Bank;
  3. Prepare submissions and represent the Bank in litigation, arbitration, other administrative or legal proceedings including internal administrative review and appeal and tribunal proceedings and other matters in which the Bank is a party or may have an interest;
  4. Advise on, negotiate, and prepare contracts for the acquisition of goods and services for the Bank including consulting and professional services, intellectual property, technology and other products, in accordance with the Bank’s procurement rules and financial regulations, and provide legal support and advice regarding existing contracts or new contracts to be entered into the Bank; and advise on the legal aspects of matters arising in the course of contractual relations with external parties;
  5. Advise on administrative and human resources management matters of the Bank, including the drafting, reviewing and amending of contracts and legal documents and advising on legal questions relating to personnel matters;
  6. Advise on insurance matters and on administrative and policy matters concerning Staff Retirement Plan and Medical Benefits Plan, and provide legal support that may be required in respect of the Staff Retirement Plan and the Medical Benefits Plan;
  7. Advise on and provide legal support in the negotiation and finalization of legal instruments of co-operation between the Bank and the Fund and bilateral, multilateral and other partners;draft, negotiate and finalize host agreements and other instruments required to ensure the Bank’s presence in its member countries;
  8. Maintain contact with legal services of other multilateral institutions and of member states and with the legal profession in general in member states of the Bank on matters relating to the functions and activities of the Bank and the Fund;
  9. Undertake such other assignments as required.
  1. At least a Master’s degree or its equivalent in Law, or a Juris Doctor (JD) and admission to the Bar of one of the member countries of the African Development Bank;
  2. A minimum of Six (6) years of relevant experience preferably with an established law firm or an international financial institution, with proven administrative experience;
  3. Ability to manage multiple, simultaneous and shifting demands, priorities and tight deadlines.
  4. Good communication and inter-personal skillswith the ability to build partnerships with a broad range of clients and deliver results that meet the needs of the Legal Service Departments and the Regional Directorate Hub’s work programs.
  5. Demonstrated knowledge in the current trend of developments and familiarity with international law, and related matters
  6. Skills in drafting of legal documents including briefs and confidential legal opinions, resolutions for Boards of Directors, preparing certificates, leading the negotiation of host countries agreements or technology contracts and partnership agreements;
  7. Strong negotiation skills in relation to a varied range of legal documents. .
  8. Ability to work and deal with sensitive issues in a multi-cultural environment and to build and maintain effective working relations with colleagues.
  9. Ability to apply his / her legal knowledge and experience to deliver the full scope of strategic legal services
  10. Ability to communicate effectively in writing and orally in English and preferably with a working knowledge of French.
  11. Competence in the use of standard Microsoft Office Suite applications; knowledge of SAP is an added advantage.


To apply for this position, you need to be national of one of AfDB member countries.

Legal Counsel

Type of contract: Fixed-term contract until 31 August 2022, which may be extended subject to individual performance and organisational needs

Who can apply: EU nationals

Salary: F/G band and benefits

Working time : Full-time

Place of work: Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Closing date for applications: 13 June 2019

Your team

You will be a member of the Financial Law Division in the Directorate General Legal Services. Our Division is responsible for advising on legal questions related to monetary policy, financial regulation, foreign reserves and own funds management, financial market infrastructures and statistics. Among other things, we currently provide legal advice on the following areas:

  • non-standard monetary policy measures, such as asset purchase programmes and targeted longer-term refinancing operations;
  • the impact of regulatory, supervisory and other developments relating to the ECB’s market operations;
  • reforms of interest rate benchmarks;
  • the ECB’s role as operator, catalyst and overseer of financial market infrastructures and innovations in this area;
  • involvement in strengthening the EU’s financial crisis management and resolution frameworks, as well as important EU financial market regulations;
  • EU-IMF programmes pertaining to the ECB’s responsibilities.

The Division also represents the ECB on these issues at the European Court of Justice and in national courts.

In your role as Legal Counsel, you will work on issues relating to the areas of financial law outlined above, cooperating with the Division’s management, relevant ECB business areas and, when necessary, the national central banks in the context of Eurosystem working groups, task forces or committees.

The ECB is an inclusive employer and we strive to reflect the diversity of the population we serve. We encourage you to apply, irrespective of your gender, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability or other characteristics.

Your role

As a Legal Counsel you will:

  • provide legal advice on issues related to any of the areas of financial law outlined above, and interact with both internal and external counterparties;
  • prepare briefing memos for the ECB’s decision-making bodies;
  • support the Division’s management in the assessment and preparation of legal documentation pertaining to the work of the Division and provide regular updates on current activities; when necessary, represent the ECB in court proceedings. The position offers excellent opportunities to actively contribute to legal assessments in a multi-jurisdictional environment, shape the legal framework for the ECB’s operational activities and support the development of EU financial market legislation. You will be part of a diverse team that continuously follows market developments and strives for legal excellence and innovation to make a positive impact on the lives of European citizens.

Qualifications, experience and skills


  • a master’s degree or equivalent in law that was obtained in an EU Member State and facilitates recognition as a lawyer under Council Directive 77/249/EEC (for details on degree equivalences, );
  • in addition to the above, at least three years of professional experience in financial law, obtained as a legal counsel or associate, or at a comparable level of responsibility, upon completion of an advanced law degree or a professional legal qualification referred to above;
  • sound knowledge of financial market instruments and relevant legal documentation, as well as the international and EU regulatory framework applicable to financial markets;
  • an advanced (C1) command of English and an intermediate (B1) command of at least one other official language of the EU according to the Common European Framework for Languages


  • a PhD or a master’s degree (LLM) in EU or financial law;
  • admission to the bar;
  • experience obtained in a legal practice active in the field of financial markets or in the legal department of a financial institution or operator of a financial market infrastructure;
  • a higher level of experience than stated above. You engage collaboratively with others. You pursue team goals and learn willingly from other people’s diverse perspectives. You signal any need for change by explaining it and proposing alternative solutions. You analyse complex information effectively and can evaluate different views to arrive at solutions. You know and anticipate stakeholder needs.
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