Faculty Spotlight — Meet Haley Proctor

by Anna Sago

Some might find Columbia’s fall and winter weather to be a bit of an adjustment, but if you’ve lived in the Northeast before, you’d be familiar with cold, wet and windy weather.

Haley Proctor joined Mizzou’s faculty this August as a joint faculty fellow at both Mizzou Law and the Kinder Institute for Constitutional Democracy and is settling in well.

Originally hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina, Proctor is a two-time graduate of Yale University, where she received her bachelor’s as well as her law degree.

“I’ve known since middle school that I wanted to be a lawyer,” said Proctor. “However, I was also very shy, so I assumed that was disqualifying. Then in middle school, these wonderful English teachers ran a debate exercise. And I found that in the context of an organized argument I was able to speak.”

After graduating from law school, Proctor completed a clerkship under now-retired Judge Thomas Griffith on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

“It was a great experience— it was my first job out of law school,” said Proctor. “Judge Griffith is a really good man and a really good mentor.”

Proctor also recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Judge Griffith on an article for the Yale Law Journal on Justice Breyer and the Major Questions Doctrine. Click here to read about it, and here to access the article.

After that first clerkship, Proctor joined Cooper & Kirk LLC in Washington, D.C. specializing in complex commercial litigation and constitutional and administrative law.

In 2014, Proctor left Cooper & Kirk for a year to clerk under Justice Clarence Thomas on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Justice Thomas is an incredible human being,” said Proctor. “He’s a brilliant jurist. I learned an incredible amount about the law. My co-clerks and I would spend weeks wrestling with these legal issues, banging our heads against the wall, and then we’d go in and meet with the justice and he would ask the one question that got right to the heart of the matter.”

After that clerkship, Proctor returned to Cooper & Kirk before searching for fellowships and ending up at Mizzou.

“I’ve always had an interest in academia,” said Proctor. “I really like the law, solving legal puzzles, and legal research gives me the time and opportunity to work them out. And then, I want to be able to share that joy with students, and that was the unique opportunity Mizzou provided— I get to teach a Constitutional Law to a wonderful group of students.”

Last semester, Proctor taught Constitutional Law at the law school. This semester, she is teaching an undergraduate course in constitutional litigation through the Kinder Institute.

Though the weather will only get colder, we’re excited to see Proctor continue to warm up to Mizzou’s tight-knit community.