Hon. Colleen D. Zahn
Colleen Zahn was appointed as the 59th justice of the Idaho Supreme Court by Gov. Brad Little on June 1, 2021. She was sworn in on July 1, 2021, and is the fourth female justice to serve on the Court.
Justice Zahn joined the Court after working for nearly 20 years as an attorney, both in private practice and in state government. Her career has encompassed both civil and criminal law with a focus throughout on issues related to government, employment and constitutional rights.
Justice Zahn graduated from the University of Idaho in 1995, cum laude, with a bachelor’s in communications with an emphasis in public relations. She graduated from the University of Idaho College of Law with her Juris Doctor in 2000, magna cum laude. After graduation, Justice Zahn clerked for one year with Fourth District Judge Ronald J. Wilper, then clerked for the following year with Idaho Court of Appeals Judge Darrel R. Perry.
Following her clerkships, Justice Zahn spent nearly 10 years in private practice, first with the Boise firm of Naylor, Hales & McCreedy and then with Hall, Farley, Oberrecht & Blanton. Her private practice focused on defense of local government entities, employers, and small business and property owners. She litigated a wide variety of civil issues, including constitutional, property, contract and employment claims. She also assisted clients with wills, probates and adoptions. In 2004, Justice Zahn received the Idaho State Bar’s Service Award for her work with Idaho State Bar committees and the Fourth District’s Citizens Law Academy.
Justice Zahn joined the Idaho Attorney General’s Office in 2011. She first served as a deputy attorney general assigned to the Idaho Department of Correction before moving to the Attorney General’s Civil Litigation Division. In those roles Justice Zahn prosecuted disciplinary actions for a state licensing board, counseled clients and provided state entities with training on employment and labor law issues. She also defended state entities in a variety of civil litigation. Her litigation practice focused on employment law, complex civil cases and constitutional matters.
In 2019, Justice Zahn became chief of the Attorney General’s Criminal Law Division. In that role, she oversaw the management and operations of the largest division in the Attorney General’s Office while also providing legal advice on a variety of criminal law issues. During this time Justice Zahn also served as the Attorney General’s representative on the Idaho Criminal Justice Commission, the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council and the Idaho Grant Council.
Justice Zahn and her family reside in Boise. She enjoys camping with her family and spending time in Idaho’s beautiful outdoors.