David J. Bodney

Senior Counsel

David J. Bodney, a litigator focusing on media and constitutional law, is founder of the firm's Media and Entertainment Law Group. For over 40 years, David has defended print, broadcast, and electronic media in defamation, privacy, and related First Amendment litigation. In addition, he has significant experience litigating complex commercial disputes; handling matters involving intellectual property, American Indian law, and governmental affairs issues; and briefing several high-profile cases in the U.S. Supreme Court.

David's practice covers a range of constitutional law issues, including prosecuting actions to secure open government, blocking prior restraints and subpoenas of reporters by government and third parties, and handling advertising, commercial speech, intellectual property law, and voting rights issues. In addition, he is regularly called upon to lobby and testify in legislative proceedings involving proposed legislation on a wide variety of issues.

Professional Highlights

Pro Bono and Community

For the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, David serves as a member of the national Board of Directors and has overseen its election protection efforts in Arizona. On behalf of the City of Phoenix, he negotiated the City's acquisition of a historic school building in downtown Phoenix to house the Children's Museum of Phoenix. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the Children's Action Alliance and as Board Chair of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. In 2008, David received the prestigious Judge Learned Hand Award for his service to the community.

Professional Activities

American Bar Association, Past Chair, ABA Forum on Communications Law (2016-17); Member, Forum's Governing Committee; Member, Editorial Advisory Board of ABA's Communications Lawyer

National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League, 2008-2016; Honorary Lifetime Member, 2017-present

Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Adjunct Faculty (media law), 1988-2020

Arizona Supreme Court's Committee on the Impact of Wireless, Mobile Technologies, and Social Media on Court Proceedings, past member

Recognition & Accomplishments

Chambers USA, First Amendment litigation (nationwide), 2013, 2015-2017, 2019-2022, "Senior Statesman," 2021, 2022

The Best Lawyers in America, advertising law, First Amendment litigation, media law, 1995-2023

Southwest Super Lawyers, First Amendment, media, and advertising, 2007-2022

Speaking Engagements

"Hearings in the Headlines: A Panel Discussion about the Relationship between the Media and the Courts, First Amendment Implications and What is 'Newsworthy'," 2018 Maricopa County Judicial Education Day, Mesa, AZ, October 26, 2018

"Fake News, Enemies of the People and Freedom of the Press: Not Exactly What the Founders Had in Mind?" State Bar of Arizona CLE, October 23, 2018 

"Press, Politics and the Public: President Trump and the First Amendment," Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Phoenix, Arizona, January 31, 2017 

Board Memberships & Community Service

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Director, 2006-present

Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Endowment Board; Chair, 2013-2015

University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, Board of Visitors


Contributor, Extreme Speech and Democracy, Oxford University Press, 2009 

"A Persuasive Colloquy: Book Review of Making Your Own Case: The Art of Persuading Judges," Arizona Attorney, July/August 2008 

"War, Wisdom, and Freedom of the Press," Communications Lawyer, December 1, 2002



University of Virginia School of Law (J.D. 1979, M.A. Foreign Affairs 1979)
Senior Editor, Virginia Journal of International Law

Yale University (B.A., cum laude, 1976)
Recipient, Thatcher Memorial Prize for Extemporaneous Debate



California (admitted pro hac vice)

U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (pro hac vice)

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (pro hac vice)

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (pro hac vice)

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (pro hac vice)

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (pro hac vice)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court