Office of the Legal Adviser

The Office of the Legal Adviser (LAO) provides: 

  • legal advice to the Director-General and the Technical Secretariat, and to the policy-making organs and States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on the implementation and interpretation of the CWC;
  • legal advice to the Director-General and the Technical Secretariat on administrative law matters, and in the area of procurement of goods and services.

LAO offers internships throughout the year. It can, however, only accept a limited number of interns at any one time. Accordingly, applications should, to the extent possible, be submitted well in advance of the period for which an internship is sought. 


Interns are assigned a variety of tasks, to ensure that they gain maximum benefit from their experience with LAO. The following is a generic, non-exhaustive, list of tasks that may be assigned to interns in LAO. 

  • Prepare first drafts of memoranda and other communications, as requested, on a variety of legal issues arising out from the CWC implementation;
  • Research rules of public international law on matters related to the interpretation of the CWC;
  • Provide support in preparation for meetings of States Parties and prepare records of such meetings;
  • Research administrative legal issues related to the implementation and interpretation of the OPCW Staff Regulations and Interim Staff Rules, the OPCW Financial Regulations and Rules, and other internal legislation.

Eligibility requirements:

Interns are expected to have completed a minimum of four years of law studies (or the equivalent of an undergraduate qualification in law plus a completed or almost completed advanced degree in law or qualification to practice law in a national jurisdiction) including studies in public international law, and/or comparative law, and/or the law of international organisations. Previous experience as an intern in an international secretariat is considered an advantage. Excellent research and analytical skills are required. Excellent English oral, reading and writing skills are essential. The ability to work in a second official language of the OPCW is an advantage.

Duration/working time:

Internships in LAO are for a minimum period of 3 months. 

Interns are expected to work on a full-time basis. Requests for part-time internships can be accommodated on an exceptional basis insofar as the agreed working schedule permits the intern to effectively participate in the work of LAO.