Reel Women: Brenda Robinson, Attorney & Philanthropist

Brenda Robinson

Brenda Robinson

Brenda Robinson is an entertainment attorney and Chicago native who currently serves as Director of Business Development for the Los Angeles law firm Greenberg Glusker LLP.

Brenda’s prior law practice focused on intellectual property and entertainment matters on behalf of clients in the music, film and television industries. Throughout her career, Brenda has provided counsel to numerous recording artists, musicians and composers, actors and actresses, production companies, authors, arts organizations, athletes, entertainers and social media influencers.

Brenda is a graduate of the University of Michigan and obtained a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a certificate in Business & Public Policy from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.

Brenda splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles. Brenda is a proud associate member of The Recording Academy and a Patron of the Arts Circle of Film Independent where she is a voting member of the Spirit Awards.

Brenda is also an active philanthropist in the arts and entertainment community. Brenda is a member of the Women at Sundance Leadership Council and currently sits on the boards of the Lookingglass Theatre Company, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Representation Project. Brenda is also on the Advisory Board of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

Brenda is a member of a film investment group, Chicago Media Project, which provides funding and support for filmmakers and storytellers who focus on social impact documentaries and narrative features. Brenda has acted as production counsel and executive producer for numerous documentary and feature film projects as well as scripted and unscripted television programming.

How did you get into the business? I began my career in the film business as an entertainment attorney, representing actors, producers, production companies, and film investors. By working closely with these talented members of the entertainment community, I was able to develop a more meaningful understanding of the overall film industry.

What obstacles have you faced specifically because of your gender? As women in the film industry, we must constantly work to ensure that opportunities continue to be extended to women at all levels of the business, from below-the-line to the C-suite.

Best thing to ever happen to you to remind you that you are a woman? At times when I have asserted myself or a viewpoint that was relevant and critical to the conversation being had, like many women, my ability to articulate an important point in an assertive manner might have been regarded as “sassy” or even “aggressive”, whereas the same view might otherwise be considered as normal conversation if it had been delivered by a man in the exact same context.

Work you are most proud of? I am proud of how intimately familiar I have become with the creative aspects of the film business now as an investor and executive producer myself as well as how deep my understanding of the work of my clients and their art has become over time as I have extended my counseling of them beyond the standard legal issues.

How do you describe the most significant #metoo moment of your life? Navigating the film industry has presented its challenges from time to time. I have learned from experience to stand up for others where I can, because giving others strength and giving voice to the larger movement, begins with me.

How have professional attitudes towards women evolved during your career? Women are seen as more critical to the creative process as contributors of a unique perspective on a project that may very well make or break its ultimate success. Women are seen as leaders and as innovators. If women do not continue to have a seat at the table, the film industry will suffer a huge void in leadership and creativity.

Trapped on an island what essentials must you have? Many people suggest that a good long book would be an essential; for me that book would be a copy of the Bible which would be key to my survival, as it would provide mental and spiritual nourishment that would sustain me for a lifetime. Next, I would bring music, as the beauty of sound is life. Lastly, I would bring my pet turtle, who I have had for over 30 years and who represents patience and longevity, to keep me company.

If you had a time machine, what would you say to your past self? I would tell my younger self to never seek to have something so badly that it interferes with your ability to enjoy what is right in front of you and what the universe has already given to you. There is no accomplishment worth pursuing at the cost of your soul.