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Legal Director

Job Location

Traverse City, MI


Type of Job




Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Jun 7, 2023

About the job

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ABOUT FLOW: Everything we do is reflected in our name: For Love of Water or simply “FLOW.” Our vision is a future where healthy waters sustain healthy communities in the Great Lakes Basin. Our mission is to ensure the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are healthy, public, and protected for all. FLOW’s law and policy work focuses on: (1) maintaining public ownership of water and water infrastructure; (2) promoting awareness and use of the public trust doctrine to defend public waters and public trust uses; (3) ensuring that water is safe and affordable for all; (4) strengthening state and local protection of groundwater and drinking water. Through our targeted policy initiatives, FLOW has built key partnerships with state and regional Great Lakes groups, leveraged our expertise to influence agencies and impact state and federal legislation, and grown to be a trusted source of current information on issues affecting our freshwater seas. For more information about FLOW’s history, programs, staff, or board visit:

FLOW is committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a diverse and inclusive workplace, and seeks a wide range of perspectives and backgrounds. FLOW is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment, promotion, compensation, or other terms and conditions of employment on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, disability, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by applicable law. FLOW encourages all qualified candidates to apply!

POSITION SUMMARY: FLOW is seeking an experienced and visionary Legal Director to help further its work as the Great Lakes’ leading law and policy center. The role will primarily involve developing and implementing legal and policy strategies to maximize protection of public trust resources and uses. This will include ensuring that existing state and federal laws are effectively used to address threats to Michigan’s water resources and public uses thereof, assisting with the development of legislation to expand protection for such resources and uses, and collaborating on policy interventions to advance FLOW’s mission. This is an exciting opportunity to work with an innovative team of professionals who are dedicated to addressing the most pressing water-related issues in the Great Lakes Basin.


  • Oversee the development of FLOW’s legal strategy. Perform legal research and draft memoranda to help FLOW select the most effective interventions to advance its mission. Present legal recommendations to FLOW’s staff and legal advisors and collaborate in the development of implementation plans.
  • Represent FLOW’s legal positions to the public. Draft amicus briefs, public comments, and other legal submissions as necessary to advance FLOW’s mission. Serve as FLOW’s spokesperson on legal matters in public presentations and with the media.
  • Be a legal resource for FLOW’s allies. Provide legal support to strengthen the policy work and public comments of organizations working on issues important to FLOW’s mission.
  • Oversee FLOW’s participation in litigation, including administrative proceedings. Recommend litigation where it is the best available tool to achieve FLOW’s public policy priorities. Manage FLOW’s participation in litigation. Recommend outside counsel when necessary. Manage the hiring and oversight of experts, consultants, interns, and fellows.
  • Draft and review legislation. Work with FLOW’s policy and communications staff to draft and review model and proposed legislation related to FLOW’s mission. Assist partner organizations with the drafting of legislation to support FLOW’s collaborative work.
  • Track relevant legal developments. Follow legal developments, including emerging scientific and economic analyses, relevant to priority Great Lakes policy issues. Synthesize that information for use in advocacy and legislation.
  • Advance organization’s public policy initiatives. Partner with FLOW’s policy and communications staff to advance key public policy priorities.
  • Manage and oversee law fellows internship program. Design and implement successful legal internship program with support from other legal advisors.
  • Other duties as assigned. Provide legal content to support the administration of FLOW and the organization’s fundraising efforts.

WORKING CONDITIONS: FLOW is based in downtown Traverse City, Michigan, and we offer a hybrid remote-work option upon completion of necessary training. Moderate, mostly in-state travel, will be required.


Education and Experience

  • Law degree. Juris doctorate (J.D.) required.
  • 7 years of relevant professional experience. Water, environmental, and/or administrative law experience preferred. Litigation experience preferred. Prior nonprofit experience preferred.
  • Proven advocate. Track record of success in adversarial contexts, particularly before administrative agencies and in negotiations.
  • Proven leader. Ability to mentor, manage, and develop a strong team of staff and consultants and work with diverse partnerships. Ability to work well with colleagues and with diverse stakeholders in many different modes.

Skills and Proficiencies

  • Strong working knowledge and understanding of federal and state environmental laws.
  • Superior spoken and written communication skills and problem-solving ability.
  • Impeccable interpersonal engagement and communication skills.
  • Demonstrated leadership experience, in a senior role and in a supervisory capacity.
  • Demonstrated ability to be highly organized, self-driven, and in possession of excellent time-management skills.
  • Experience participating in coalitions and collaborating with external partners.
  • Strong work ethic, intellectual curiosity, systems thinker, self-motivated, and committed to excellence, sound judgment, and confidentiality.
  • Proficiency or professional experience with essential software, including Google Workspace, Microsoft Office Suite, Zoom, and project management tools.
  • Willingness to travel and work occasional nights as necessary.

Shared Values

  • Commitment to FLOW’s mission to ensure the waters of the Great Lakes Basin are healthy, public, and protected for all.
  • Dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion and an ability to infuse those elements into policy strategies and organizational and campaign planning.
  • Commitment to building a healthy work culture based on collegiality, teamwork, collaboration, partnerships, and public engagement.

COMPENSATION, BENEFITS, AND APPLICATION PROCEDURE: This is a full-time, Director-level position with a salary range of $90,000-$110,000, commensurate with experience, and benefits.

TO APPLY: Please complete our online application form.

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