Hailey named best pre-law advisor in U.S.

Posted March 23, 2015

Dr. Mel Hailey of Abilene Christian University has been named the pre-law advisor of the year for 2015 among all U.S. colleges and universities.

Hailey will receive the 2015 Dean Gerald Wilson Award for Excellence in Pre-law Advising in October. The award is given annually to just one pre-law advisor in the country.

Hailey teaches in the Department of Political Science and has served as pre-law adviser for the university since 1994. He has advised hundreds of students. ACU students gain admission into law school each year at a rate exceeding 90 percent, and political science students are admitted at a sterling 99 percent rate.

Dr. Neal Coates, chair of the ACU Department of Political Science, said, “Dr. Hailey is known for his outstanding knowledge of law schools and the superb advice he gives. He is also quite keen in helping students match their qualifications with a law school that will result in successful completion of their degree. Dr. Hailey even maintains relationships with many of our ACU graduates through their careers in law. This is a testimony to Dr. Hailey as an advisor but more importantly as a person.”

The Dean Gerald Wilson Award for Excellence in Pre-Law Advising is awarded annually by the Pre-Law Advisors National Council (PLANC). The award will be presented to Hailey this October at the annual meeting of the Southwest Association of Pre-law Advisors (SWAPLA), which is a regional association of PLANC. That meeting will be held in Las Vegas in conjunction with the Western Association of Pre-Law Advisors Conference. Hailey also will be recognized in 2016 at the PLANC national conference in Chicago.

Dean Gerald Lee Wilson is a founding member of PLANC and was elected its first chair in 1984. As the editor and compiler of the Handbook for Pre-Law Advisors, he is widely recognized as the pre-eminent pre-law advisor in the nation. He has been the pre-law advisor at Duke University for four decades.

Hailey also has served as chairman of PLANC for two years and has served as president of SWAPLA two terms.

Hailey was nominated for the 2015 award by Dr. Jeff Robb, professor of government at Texas Woman’s University and current SWAPLA President. In his nomination, Robb included comments from Dr. Jerry Polinard, professor of political science at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, and from Dr. James Calvi, professor of political science at West Texas A&M University, and a former chair of PLANC.

Polinard described Hailey by saying, “His leadership qualities go far beyond simply calling a meeting to order and negotiating the agenda. He has the rare ability to make those around him not just better advisors, but better people.”

Calvi said of Hailey, “He is a great friend, a great colleague and one of the most dedicated prelaw advisors I have ever known. Many prelaw advisors master the mechanics of the admissions process, which enables them to give students the technical information they need to navigate the intricacies of the process. Dr. Hailey is exceptional in that he learns about the individual law schools so he can better advise his students as to which law school fits their abilities, needs and personalities. His intimate knowledge of the requirements of so many different law schools has never failed to impress me.…He is a treasure chest of information that serves his students well.”

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