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Legal Officer

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) - Administration


ECMWF is the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. It is an intergovernmental organisation created in 1975 by a group of European nations and is today supported by 34 Member and Co-operating States, mostly in Europe. The Centre’s mission is to serve and support its Member and Co-operating States and the wider community by developing and providing world-leading global numerical weather prediction. ECMWF functions as a 24/7 research and operational centre with a focus on medium and long-range predictions and holds one of the largest meteorological archives in the world. The success of its activities relies primarily on the talent of its scientists, strong partnerships with its Member and Co-operating States and the international community, some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world, and the use of innovative technologies such as machine learning across its operations.

Over the years, ECMWF has also developed a strong partnership with the European Union, and for nearly a decade has been an entrusted entity for the implementation and operation of the Copernicus Climate Change and the Atmosphere Monitoring Services of the EU Space Programme, as well as a contributor to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service. The collaboration does not stop there and includes other areas of work, including High Performance Computing and the development of digital tools. It is enabling ECMWF to now provide data and products covering weather, climate, air quality, fire and flood prediction and monitoring.

ECMWF is a major partner in the implementation of the Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative, phase 1 of which started in late 2021, together with ESA and EUMETSAT as partners. The objective of the European Commission’s DestinE initiative is to deploy several highly accurate thematic digital replicas of the Earth, called Digital Twins, to monitor and predict natural and human activities as well as their interactions, to develop and test scenarios that would enable more sustainable developments and support corresponding European policies for the Green Deal.

ECMWF has recently become a multi-site organisation, with its headquarters based since its creation in Reading, UK, a new data centre in Bologna, Italy, and new offices in Bonn, Germany. ECMWF has adopted a hybrid organisation model which allows its staff to mix office working and teleworking. This generous and flexible model provides our staff with considerable flexibility to spend time outside or away from their duty station and decide how they wish to manage their professional working time at ECMWF. ECMWF is an organisation that values the whole being and understands and values the need for flexibility in the way its staff work.

For additional details, see

Summary of the role

The Legal Services Team is responsible for safeguarding and promoting ECMWF’s legal interests and advising the organisation on all legal implications of its various activities and proposed actions, as well as providing guidance on all legal issues to key-decision makers as required.

It provides advice and guidance to ensure that ECMWF meets its obligations under its Convention, regulations, Council decisions, and international law whilst ensuring the legal framework adequately supports the organisation in achieving its mission.

The Legal Services Team comprises the Head of Legal Services (General Counsel), a Senior Legal Officer and a Legal Officer but can also call upon the services of several external legal firms as required. It is envisaged that the team will also be supported by law clerks in the future.

The Legal Officer reports to the Head of Legal Services (General Counsel). Occasionally, the Legal Officer may receive instructions from the Senior Legal Officer inasmuch as seamless coordination with the Centre’s Copernicus activities is concerned.

ECMWF is envisaged to undergo significant organizational changes during 2023. The Legal Officer is expected to contribute to a seamless integration of legal services for Destination Earth into the wider, matrix-managed environment.

Team working and working collaboratively is essential in this role within a small, effective legal team, which will be based at two different sites. Ideally, the candidate will bring complementary skills, experience and areas of expertise to the legal function.

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Managing all ECMWF legal operations concerning the implementation of Destination Earth, (with a focus on intellectual property rights and commercial law aspects)
  • Independently negotiating contracts with third party providers for Destination Earth
  • Supporting the Senior Legal Officer in coordinating all legal matters in relation to Destination Earth with ECMWF Copernicus activities
  • Independently negotiating commercial, licensing and scientific agreements with third parties, including Horizon Europe Grant and Consortium Agreements
  • Supporting procurements and acting as legal expert on Tender Evaluation Boards
  • Leading revisions of specific ECMWF policy documents as required
  • Advising on intellectual property matters
  • Representing the legal function on specific projects as required
  • Supporting the Legal Services Team on German labour and social security law as applicable to an inter-governmental organization (desirable)
  • Working on other tasks as required
Education, experience, knowledge and skills


  • Advanced university degree (EQF Level 7, Master's degree or equivalent) in law. Candidates must also be qualified to practice as a lawyer in one of the ECMWF Member States or Co-operating States
  • Additional qualifications in relevant areas and particularly in European Union law or public international law would be an advantage


  • A good working knowledge of German law (specifically German B2B contract law) is essential
  • Relevant to considerable experience as an attorney or as in-house legal counsel, preferably in an international environment
  • Proven experience of independently drafting, reviewing, and negotiating contracts, specifically commercial and information technology contracts
  • Proven experience with Intellectual Property Rights
  • Experience of working in a multinational, multi-site organisation and in virtual teams (highly desirable)
  • Experience with German labour and social security law (desirable)
  • Experience with working in a multijurisdictional setting and with public international law (desirable).
  • Experience of working with or for a scientific or technical organisation or for an international organisation (desirable)

Knowledge and skills

  • Excellent legal drafting and negotiation skills
  • Very good working knowledge of Microsoft 365 and SharePoint,  with considerable experience of working with Microsoft Word
  • Candidates must be able to work effectively in English and interviews will be conducted in English
  • A good knowledge of the Centre’s other working languages German or French, would be an advantage
Personal attributes
  • Excellent verbal, written communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to effectively and confidently communicate and work with individuals from all levels, backgrounds and cultures
  • Solution-orientated with the ability to balance the legal, commercial, and strategic requirements of the role
  • Ability and willingness to work as a legal generalist, applying experience and knowledge to changing and complex requirements
  • Ability to work both collaboratively and independently, sharing expertise and lessons learnt with colleagues, in person and virtually
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with demonstrated ability to apply these to working within and across teams with stakeholders at all levels
  • Excellent attention to detail
Other information

Grade remuneration

The successful candidate will be recruited at the A3 grade, according to the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations and the annual basic salary will be EUR 103,517.76 net of tax. ECMWF also offers a generous benefits package, including a flexible teleworking policy. The position is assigned to the employment category STF-PL as defined in the ECMWF Staff Regulations. Full details of salary scales and allowances available on the ECMWF website at, including the ECMWF Staff Regulations and the terms and conditions of employment.

Starting date:  As soon as possible

Length of contract:  The total contract duration is expected to be four years (with the possibility of further extension). The DestinE Contribution Agreement is divided into phases and the Centre is therefore required to contract initially for a period corresponding to such funding limitations, which in the case of this position means until the end of 2024. However, subject to performance, extensions to complete the four year period (which could be subsequently extended even further) are currently intended to be offered to the successful candidate as soon as funding beyond the initial phase is confirmed.

Location:  The position will be based at ECMWF's duty station in Bonn, Germany.

As a multi-site organisation, ECMWF has adopted a hybrid organisation model which allows flexibility to staff to mix office working and teleworking.

Who can apply

Applicants are invited to complete the online application form by clicking on the apply button.

At ECMWF, we consider an inclusive environment as key for our success. We are dedicated to ensuring a workplace that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for all, without distinction as to race, gender, age, marital status, social status, disability, sexual orientation, religion, personality, ethnicity and culture. We value the benefits derived from a diverse workforce and are committed to having staff that reflect the diversity of the countries that are part of our community, in an environment that nurtures equality and inclusion.

Applications are invited from nationals from ECMWF Member States and Co-operating States, listed below, and all EU Member States:

ECMWF Member and Co-operating States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, North Macedonia, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Türkiye and the United Kingdom.

In these exceptional times, we also welcome applications from Ukrainian nationals for this vacancy.  

Applications from nationals from other countries may be considered in exceptional cases.

Location: Bonn - Germany
Salary: €103,517.76
£91,548.31 converted salary* net annual basic salary + other benefits. Grade A3
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 25th January 2023
Closes: 16th February 2023
Job Ref: VN23-06
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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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