General Counsel (f/m/d)

Location: Vienna / Innsbruck, Austria


In this position as the organization’s legal representative, you are expected to provide strategic guidance, consultation and support to the Executive Board and senior leadership, including, as needed, its member associations on a range of legal and associated issues related to the delivery of its Mission. While the Office of the General Counsel reports to the CEO as part of the Executive Board, it acts as the legal voice of the organization. When needed, the scope of its services will extend to the federation leadership and its various boards and Member Associations.


SOS Children's Villages is the world's largest non-governmental organization focused on supporting children and young people without parental care or at risk of losing it. Locally led, SOS Children’s Villages associations work in more than 130 countries and territories to strengthen families under pressure so they can stay together. When this is not in a child or young person’s best interests, the organization provides quality care according to their unique needs. The organization speaks for each child’s rights and advocates for change where needed so all children can grow up in a supportive environment.


Your responsibilities:

  • Provide independent legal advice, guidance and/or counsel to the Executive Board, senior management, and other key stakeholders.
  • Anticipate and identify legal issues and provide legal counsel on strategies and solutions, often in situations of great political, public relations, or financial risk or significance, and with limited time for assessing alternatives.
  • Represent and oversee representation of the organization’s legal positions and interests regarding legal compliance towards internal and external business contacts, authorities, and other third parties.
  • Further develop and oversee risk management from a legal and compliance perspective.
  • Drive simplification and standardization projects and support the implementation of new tools and systems related to legal tech.
  • As part of the senior leadership, the incumbent promotes ethical standards across the federation in line with the code of conduct and is accountable for role modelling, safeguarding principles and upholding the highest standards of our value-based organization.
  • The General Counsel leads and is supported by a team of legal experts.


Your qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in International Law, Humanitarian or Human Rights Law combined with practical international experience or considerable additional experience in the subject area with a first-level degree.
  • 10 to 15 years of relevant, progressive international experience, including at least five years at the senior management level in a global non-profit environment, preferably gained in an INGO or International Government Organization.
  • Extensive experience and demonstrated ability to provide legal counsel, analysis, interpretation, and prepare legal opinions at the senior leadership level in complex, diverse and multicultural environments.
  • Experience managing high-pressure and high-visibility operational problems, specifically internal fraud and significant audit findings.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully manage a legal office in a complex organization, including employee development and performance management.
  • Ability to remotely supervise and coordinate the work of a global team of legal professionals and consultants and foster a cooperative work environment.
  • Strong ability to promote collaboration, remove barriers to participation, share decision-making and power, and build partnerships.
  • Able to uphold confidentiality, integrity and professional ethics and act as a role model for the organization and living its values.
  • Experience in a child-care context would be a distinct advantage, as well as experience working across a range of national legislations, e.g., federation governance.
  • Some knowledge and understanding of Austrian law would be an asset.
  • Exposure to and/or knowledge of external/internal audit and investigatory/forensic processes and procedures.
  • Excellent command of English (both written and oral).
  • Additional languages, e.g., German, French, or Spanish, would be an asset.
  • Able and willing to travel.
  • EU citizenship or eligibility to work in the EU.


Benefits of the position:

  • A diverse range of exciting tasks in a leading INGO multicultural working environment.
  • A range of training schemes and opportunities for educational enhancement.
  • A salary that will be commensurate with top NGO standards.


This position provides a dynamic and challenging work environment with a high level of inspiration and commitment in a value-driven, stable, and constantly evolving and expanding international organization.

If you are interested, we look forward to receiving your detailed application addressed directly to our executive search consultancy:

Ward Howell International

Mrs. Raffaela Dittmer-Glowinski



Ward Howell International

M +43 664 35 90 741