Friends currently has an opening for a Legal and Policy Director as well as open positions on its Board of Directors.

Job Opening - Legal and Policy Director   

TITLE: Legal and Policy Director

CLASSIFICATION: Full Time/ Salary                                                                        

REPORTS TO: Executive Director

LOCATION: Minneapolis


The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness (the “Friends”) is seeking a full-time attorney to serve as Legal and Policy Director (“LPD”).  In this role, the LPD will help set and implement a legal and policy agenda that furthers the Friends’ mission of protecting, preserving and restoring the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (“Boundary Waters”) and the Quetico-Superior ecosystem.

In 1976, the Friends was founded by passionate wilderness advocates willing to fight for the long-term protection of a beloved landscape – a place where individuals can experience wild lakes and rivers and seek adventure, beauty, rejuvenation and solitude.  This effort, which was marked by controversy and sacrifice, and required the bold vision of these early advocates, helped bring full wilderness protection to the Boundary Waters with the passage of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act in 1978.

Currently, a major focus of the organization is opposing the copper-sulfide mining projects that are proposed for the area outside the Boundary Waters and in the Quetico-Superior watershed, and present the greatest existential threat to the Boundary Waters since its designation as a federally protected wilderness area in 1978.  The Friends’ LPD will be instrumental in this legal battle, providing litigation oversight and working with our coalition partners to help set the legal strategy for protecting the Boundary Waters from this unprecedented threat.


  • Works closely with the Executive Director to coordinate the Friends’ legal and policy strategies.

  • Works effectively with other departments within the Friends, including Communications, Development and Membership, and Operations.

  • Serves as staff liaison to the Policy Committee of the Board of Directors.

  • May be responsible for supervising a Government Relations Manager, which would be a future hire.


  • Direct the Friends’ ongoing federal and state litigation involving the Twin Metals and PolyMet copper-sulfide mines, including working closely with the Friends’ pro bono law firms and co-counsel from other firms to set litigation and policy strategy relating to these mining projects.

  • Direct the development and advancement of the Friends’ policy goals for protecting the Boundary Waters at the local, state, and federal levels.

  • Build and participate in collaborative relationships with the Friends’ environmental non-profit partners involved in the fight against copper-sulfide mining in the Boundary Waters and other issues that threaten the Boundary Waters and Quetico-Superior ecosystem.

  • Identify issues as they arise that threaten the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters and Quetico-Superior ecosystem, and help set and implement the legal, advocacy and policy strategies for effectively addressing and responding to such threats.

  • Engage in government relations with Congress, Minnesota Legislature, and government agencies to advance the Friends’ policy objectives.

  • Work with and potentially supervise a Government Relations Manager, which would be a future hire.


  • Juris Doctorate (JD) degree.

  • A minimum of three years of legal advocacy or environmental litigation experience.

  • Licensed to practice law in Minnesota, or a willingness and qualifications to apply for membership within one year of employment.

  • Excellent litigation or legal advocacy skills, including legal research, writing and oral advocacy skills.

  • Knowledge of public lands conservation and/or mining issues and the Administrative Procedures Act.

  • Initiative, good judgment, and a strong work ethic.

  • Ability to work independently and in collaboration with staff and outside partners.

  • Ability to develop and maintain partnerships with community-based or other grassroots groups.

  • Ability and willingness to travel to Northern Minnesota as needed.

  • Passion for preserving the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and its ecosystem.


  • Paid vacation and sick leave, health insurance, and 403(b) retirement plan.

  • In addition to paid vacation and sick leave, the Friends provides a $300 stipend and five additional paid vacation days to each employee to take time off and recharge in the wilderness.

  • Hours of unpaid leave for parents to attend a child’s school conferences, classroom activities, childcare or any other childhood program.

  • $50 per month transportation allowance for public transit or parking.

  • We encourage life-long learning and will pay for ongoing professional development.


Submit a cover letter, resume, three references, and two writing samples to:

Ms. Bree Mattson

Operations Manager

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness
401 North Third Street, Suite 290
Minneapolis, MN 55401

In the subject line of any electronic communication, please put “Legal and Policy Director Position.”

Applications will be accepted until February 28, 2019.

At the Friends, we have a clear vision to be the place where a diverse mix of talented people want to come, to stay, and do their best work. The Friends is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age or veteran status.

Job Opening - Board of Director 


The Board of Directors determines the mission, strategic direction, and programming for Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness (“Friends”). A Director ensures and nurtures adequate human and financial resources and actively monitors and evaluates the Executive Director’s performance and the Friends’ financial results. A Director approves and systematically implements policies to ensure achievement of the mission of the Friends.


  • Reports to the Board Chair

  • Works closely with the Executive Director and other staff to ensure the achievement of the mission

  • Works closely with and gets to know other Board and committee members and builds collegial working relationships that contribute to consensus

  • Serves as a spokesperson outside the organization and delivers consistent, compelling messages on mission, programs, and finances, and encourages civic participation 


  • Knows and commits to the Friends’ mission, vision, and values

  • Provides leadership continuity by ensuring Board succession, including identifying, recruiting, and orienting new members

  • Is knowledgeable about Friends’ policies, programs, and operations, and oversees their implementation and evaluation

  • Is accessible and responsive to other Directors and staff

  • Actively seeks out financial and other resources for the organization


  • Engages in strategic planning

  • Approves written policies and procedures governing the work and actions of the Friends’ employees and volunteers

  • Hires, sets the compensation for, and annually evaluates the performance of the Executive Director

  • Reviews the overall compensation structure for staff and establishes policies on employee benefits, vacation, and sick leave 


  • Approve the annual operating budget; at least four times per year assesses the organization’s financial performance

  • Assists in developing fundraising plans and actively participates in fundraising initiatives each year

  • Makes an annual gift to the Friends as circumstances allow. There is no minimum contribution amount, but the Friends should be in a Director’s top three charities for annual giving.

  • Ensure that an internal review of the Friends’ compliance with legal, regulatory, and financial reporting requirements is conducted annually


  • Regularly prepares for, attends, and participates in Board meetings

  • Participates actively in at least one Board committee


  • The Committee Chair presides or assigns someone to preside at all meeting of the respective committee. The Committee Chair has general supervision, direction, and active management of the committee’s affairs, working in partnership with staff and volunteers. The Committee Chair reports to the Board Chair.

Internship Program

Thought there are currently now internship opportunities, the Friends does, on occasion, offer a variety of unique internships that provide students a chance to gain practical experience working with a high-impact non-profit and develop workplace skills in membership, policy, and communications. Internship positions are part-time (typically 10-12 hours per week) and are offered in the spring, summer, and fall.

For more information about internship opportunities or applications, contact the internship coordinator.