Robert Gutierrez


Ballard Spahr

Robert Gutierrez is an entertainment litigator and a member of Ballard Spahr’s Media & Entertainment practice group.  Prior to joining Ballard Spahr in 2019, Robert was a partner at the former boutique firm of Leopold, Petrich & Smith.   He regularly represents writers and publishers in all media, and content creators, producers and distributors in the entertainment and music industries.  His work for content creators includes pre-broadcast script, title, and chain of title clearance, post-broadcast representation on the gamut of entertainment-related issues and claims, including breach of contract, defamation, invasion of privacy, right of publicity, idea submission, and copyright and trademark infringement.  His defense of an invasion of privacy claim against a documentary producer resulted in the California Supreme Court overturning its seminal privacy decision in Briscoe v. Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.  He has successfully defeated numerous lawsuits brought to chill his clients’ exercise of their right of free speech, invoking California’s Anti-SLAPP statute and similar statutes in other states.

Robert is a frequent speaker on First Amendment and entertainment-related topics throughout the country, including libel-in-fiction, the Anti-SLAPP statute, right of publicity, and “hot topics” in entertainment law.  He often counsels documentary filmmakers as part of Ballard Spahr’s thriving pro bono initiative.  In 2021, Los Angeles Business Journal recognized Robert as a Minority Leader of Influence.  Robert is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School.

Participating Sessions

Investigative Filmmaking Under Fire: The Holly, a Case Study

The Holly documentary goes deep inside a gentrifying community in Denver, where a shooting case involving an activist exposes the political machinations of urban development and the city’s gang activity. From production all the way through distribution, a variety of legal issues threatened to shut the film down. In this session, we take a look at the legalities of filming in a courtroom, what to do when you’re being sued...