Brenda Feigen is an experienced women’s rights, civil rights, employment and entertainment law attorney who fights hard for her clients, whether they be individuals who have experienced discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination, who need severance or other contracts negotiated or want to negotiate agreements related to film, TV, music or book deals, who are seeking funding for films, or, in general, are individuals who need contracts negotiated. Ms Feigen has worked with clients who are renegotiating existing employment arrangements with all different types of employers, ranging from the largest hospital complex in Los Angeles to animal care organizations to private companies, large and small.
She has litigated sex discrimination cases that involved both violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as well as landmark constitutional cases. She sat at the counsel table as then Professor Ginsburg argued the landmark case, Frontiero v. Richardson, in which it was established that discrimination on the basis of gender would receive more than the cursory (or no) review it had previously garnered. That decision was the first in a long line of cases that culminated in a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision (written by Justice Ginsburg), holding that there must be an "exceedingly persuasive reason" for the existence of any gender discrimination by any government body or in any law or statute. Brenda brought successful federal class action lawsuits against the Harvard Club of New York City, which had hitherto refused women graduates the right to become full members, and the New York City Board of Education which had routinely denied parental leaves of absence to all fathers but granted them to all mothers.
While Brenda was at the ACLU, she started the Reproductive Freedom Rights Project. Her first client in her capacity as director of that project was Nial Ruth Cox, a young, Black woman who had been sterilized against her will and without her knowledge by the state of North Carolina. Below, Brenda and her client, Nial Ruth Cox, in 1973.
The case was barred by the state’s statute of limitations. It took almost 50 years for reparations to be paid to people who had been sterilized by that state. It was a bell weather for other lawsuits in other jurisdictions. Brenda was a partner in the law firm, Fasteau and Feigen, from 1974 to 1982, handling disparate matters, many centering on discrimination.
Currently, still intent on eliminating sex discrimination, Brenda has brought together lawyers from the ACLU (National office and southern California) and two private firms to represent women dockworkers who have been denied light duty while they've been pregnant, as well as private, safe spaces in which to pump breast milk after their babies' are born. The lawsuit has been going on for 7 years and is against the Pacific Maritime Association and the Longshore Workers Union.
In the entertainment field, Brenda has handled matters involving the motion picture, television, literary and other intellectual property areas. Clients range from producers to rights owners, authors, writers, directors and actors. She spent seven years in the '80s at the William Morris Agency where she was both a business affairs attorney and a motion picture agent. While at William Morris, she represented producers, writers and talent, such as Jane Alexander, Karen Allen, Loretta Swit and Mike Farrell. She recently settled an important copyright case against a large New York publishing house.
Her practice has also been enhanced by her own experience as producer of a big-budget Hollywood movie, NAVY SEALS (Orion, 1990), But, in general, her practice has focused on discrimination, as well as harassment, wrongful termination and civil rights cases. Some of the defendants with whom she has successfully settled matters for her clients include a nationwide insurance company, a national restaurant chain, the Defense Department, a large Hollywood film-processing company and a well-known law firm in a neighboring state. She has recently been involved with a number of high-profile cases involving gender discrimination in Hollywood and elsewhere.
Brenda Feigen’s work with the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has influenced her entire legal career. She joined Justice Ginsburg at Celebration 40, marking 40 years since the first women students were admitted to Harvard Law School. Here she is at the Law School, celebrating with Joanne Parrent, RBG and her husband, Marty Ginsburg.
She visited the Justice in her Chambers on days of hearing in the same-sex marriage cases.
She wrote a comprehensive article for the ACLU’s magazine on working with Justice Ginsburg starting when RBG was a professor of law at Rutgers University.
And, finally, on the death of her dear friend, Brenda wrote a tribute to her in both the Harvard and Columbia Law Reviews.
Brenda Feigen is a member of the American, California, Los Angeles County, Beverly Hills and New York Civil and Criminal Courts Bar Associations.
Martindale-Hubbell Peer AV Preeminent Rating
U.S. District Court, Central District of California:
U.S. District Court, Southern District of California:
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Brenda has served as a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America and the National Employment Lawyers Association. She has also served on the boards of California Lawyers for the Arts and the Population Media Center and on the Association of American Screenwriters. In 2000, she became Chair of the Board of The National Breast Cancer Education and Legal Center. Brenda is active in the arts as well as politics, having run for the Democratic nomination for New York's 26th State Senatorial seat, Brenda ran to be a Shirley Chisholm delegate to the 1972 Democratic Convention in Miami.