Justice Brian K. Zahra was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court on January 14, 2011, by Governor Rick Snyder, and won election in November 2012.
Justice Zahra received his undergraduate degree in 1984 from Wayne State University; to finance his education, he opened and operated a small health and personal care retail store in downtown Detroit, later opening a grocery outlet, also in Detroit, with two partners. In 1987, he graduated with honors from the University of Detroit Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review; while in law school, he also served as Articles Editor of the State Bar of Michigan’s Corporation and Finance Business Law Journal. He then served as law clerk to Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for two years before joining the law firm of Dickinson, Wright, Moon, Van Dusen & Freeman in 1989. In 1994, Governor John Engler appointed him to the Wayne County Circuit Court; he was elected to a six-year term in 1996 and continued to serve on the circuit court until December 1998, when he was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals by Governor Engler. He was elected to six-year terms in 2000 and 2006. From December 2005 to January 2007, he served as the Court of Appeals’ Chief Judge Pro Tem.
Justice Zahra, who has taught evidence as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit-Mercy Law School, has served on many professional and legislative committees, including the Michigan Civil Jury Instructions Committee, the Circuit Court Appellate Rules Committee, the Domestic Violence Legislation Implementation Task Force, and the advisory committee for the Michigan Judicial Institute Domestic Violence Benchbook. He has also served on the Michigan Board of Law Examiners, which drafts and grades the examination that law school graduates must pass in order to become licensed attorneys.
Justice Zahra has been active in many civic and charitable organizations, including Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, Kiwanis Club International, Leadership Detroit, the Knights of Columbus, the Maltese American Community Club, and the Maltese American Benevolent Society, of which he is a past officer. He is a board member and former officer of the Catholic Lawyers Society, and is a member of the Federalist Society, having served as secretary and vice-president of the Michigan chapter.
Justice Zahra resides in Northville Township with his wife Suzanne and their two children.