Attorney Turns Director–Debut Film Exposes American Bar Association Plot


David S. Ward is the Hollywood writer and director of “Field of Dreams,” “The Sting,” and many other amazingly successful films. I never met the man but when I lived in Beverly Hills I would sometimes get calls from his fans, telling me how much they enjoyed “my” latest movie. I confess to having a lifelong dream of writing novels and screenplays but for years, David M. Ward has lived in the shadow of David S. Ward.

Not anymore.

Today, my dream has become reality as I am now the writer, producer and director of my first motion picture.

Last week, I found out from Larry Bodine that the ABA wants to regulate marketing on the Internet. Big Brother wants to control just about everything we do online. According to Larry, the proposal would have a chilling affect on every aspect of attorney marketing:

  • Online social networking (Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter)
  • Blogging
  • Facebook and Linkedin profiles
  • Pay per click advertising
  • Gathering information through networking websites
  • Discussion forums
  • Lawyer websites
  • Use of case histories on law firm websites

Tom Kane echoed Bodine’s concerns and I do too.

We have enough rules. Too many rules. Unnecessary rules. We are regulated, micro-managed, watched, and warned, by the very organization that is supposed to represent our interests. True, the ABA has no direct jurisdiction over us but they wield tremendous influence over the bar associations that do.

Enough is enough

I decided to do something about it. This film, “The Convention,” is an urgent message to all attorneys to rise up and tell the ABA, “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

And now, I present to you, uncensored and uncut, “The Convention”:

[mc src=”” type=”youtube”]The Convention: A young lawyer attends his first ABA Convention[/mc]

Okay, just having some fun but this is a very serious subject. I urge you to write to the ABA and tell them to keep their hands off. The cut off for discussion is December 15, so please voice your concerns and tell your colleagues to do the same.



  1. Sounds like the ABA working to protect the interests of larger firms with a diminishing client base if this is the case. The internet is a great equalizer.

  2. David,

    This animated video was hilarious. You hit the nail right on the head. Most bar associations, when you ask them to do a lecture on marketing come back to you and tell you “We don’t do marketing seminars,” “There is no way our board would allow us to get CLE credit for a marketing seminar.”

    The questions put out by the ABA seeking to try and limit and inhibit attorney marketing online is a potential disaster waiting to happen. You are 100% correct when you say in your video that says we don’t need additional regulations since our state bar associations are in charge of that. You’re also correct when you point out that the ABA is looking to protect the wrong people. They are in fact, our trade association but they seem to be focusing on protecting the public that does not necessarily need to be protected.

    Thanks for an entertaining and poignant commentary. You point out that the ABA is not doing anything to teach attorneys how to effectively and properly market attorneys online or offline and how to stand out from the crowd. I read a blog post recently that out of all the people who sit on the ABA ethics commission, only one of them market themselves online. Interesting indeed.

    NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Attorney

    • Thanks, Gerry.

      What do you think about a sequel? Here’s the plot: an attorney is behind bars, having been arrested by the ABA police for sending out a tweet recommending a deli he likes. (I’ve got deli’s on the brain.) The ABA claims this is a violation of “the rules” because the deli could get customers as a result of his tweet and, because of his recommendation, the attorney might get referrals from the owner of the deli. Under the new rules, this is a form of capping and fee splitting and besides, the ABA doesn’t approve of delicatessens because they attract unsavory characters who talk loudly and complain about their food.

      Next scene: The attorney is visiting with his attorney, going over the charges. His attorney is, of course. . . a public defender. He couldn’t afford private counsel because he had to take down his web site and has no clients.

      Last scene: Our hero is in court for sentencing. The judge asks him if he has anything to say. “Yes, your Honor, I do.” All eyes are on our intrepid protagonist. “I’ve seen the err of my ways and have given up practicing law. I hope the Court will take that into consideration.” Several attorneys gasp. “And, your Honor, I have a new job. I now work at the deli and I’d like to invite you to come try our brisket. I left a coupon for you with your Clerk. . .”

      David S. would be so proud. . .

  3. While your video was quite unimpressive, I understand your frustration at the ABA and the controlling number of regulations and rules they hope to impose on the internet. I hope you found the support you were looking for to aid in your cause.


  1. […] week, I joined the chorus of attorneys who strongly object to the ABA's proposal to promulgate new rules regulating what attorneys can do on the Internet […]

  2. […] a year ago, I wrote and "produced" a simple video about a new lawyer attending his first ABA Convention. This was around the time the ABA was considering new rules to regulate attorneys behavior online […]