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Alumni Profile

Singing the law

Andy Haynes

Attorney Andrew Ky Haynes, BA ’79, uses his guitar as an instructional aid for professionals learning employee benefit law. Photo by Nicholas Benner

Andrew Ky Haynes sat in his hotel room after a full day of lecturing. Feeling bored, he picked up his guitar to have some fun. As a joke, he wrote a song about his area of expertise: employee benefit law. “It was just a way to unwind and have a private laugh,” says Haynes, BA ’79, of Blue Springs, Mo.

The next day, as Haynes lectured in a hot room, he labored to keep the attention of his audience of professionals. But he was losing them. “So I pulled out my guitar,” he says, “and started playing the song I wrote the night before.”

The audience erupted with laughter.

Ever since that day about 12 years ago, Haynes has incorporated songs into his presentations. His audiences — human resource officers, actuaries and other professionals — can’t get enough of the classic rock-inspired tunes about aspects of employee benefit law or upcoming changes in health care. Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’ ” turned into “The Rules They Are a-Changin.’ ” Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” turned into “PPACA (Patient Protection Affordable Care Act) Daze.” David Bowie’s “Changes,” turned into “Exchanges.” (Exchanges are state-run health plans created by PPACA.)

“When I’m booked for a seminar, people are now requesting I bring my guitar,” Haynes says. 

His seminar performances grew out of days jamming for hours with roommates and friends in Hudson Hall at MU. He earned his law degree from Emory University in 1982.

Today, Haynes’ lectures last longer than his college jam sessions. Much like how those jam sessions were a way to unwind from the stress of studying, the songs have been comic relief to sometimes-dry topics. 

The songs are educational, too — a method straight from the psychology class at MU where he served as a teaching assistant. “Professor Bob Arkin knew how to keep the crowd,” Haynes says. “He was theatrical, energetic and inspirational. I learned a lot about teaching from him.” — David Earl