Continuing legal education officials are cracking down on the recent rash of lawyers who yell “Freebird” during plenary sessions of major CLE seminars. The practice, once confined to rock concerts, has finally caught on among lawyers, who are increasingly yelling Freebird during opening and closing plenary sessions at many national CLE programs.
At a recent Section 1031 tax law symposium, at least two lawyers in the audience yelled “Freebird” during a speaker’s session, prompting security at the event to hustle the lawyers out of the building. No arrests were made but one speaker, a noted tax law expert, retorted with “I got your free bird right here,” gesturing with his middle finger from the podium.
“It’s gotten really bad,” said Frederick “Chub” Calhoun, a CLE director in Missouri. “We’ve started hiring more security and passing out educational advisories at all of our programs. Basically, it tells attendees and speakers what to do if a colleague starts yelling Freebird. The bottom line is to remain calm, it will pass.”
The phenomenon of yelling Freebird, a 1970’s hit by southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, dates back to the 1980’s, though the precise origin cannot be traced. It’s not clear why it took attorneys this long to start a tradition of yelling Freebird at CLE programs.