Melissa Sanchez, founder of Harvest Law Group in Sacramento, has been selected to a national list of notable attorneys.

Harvest Law Group focuses on the regulations surrounding California’s cannabis industry. When the state began to develop its recreational cannabis laws, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2018, Sanchez helped her clients prepare for the shift and make a smooth transition into a fully legalized marketplace. Sanchez has also told the Business Journal she’s ready to take her career in a new direction and become an ownership partner in cannabis businesses.

The Business Journals’ Influencers: Law spotlights attorneys who are driving business for their employers, and for their clients, in cities across the country. The 100 individuals identified here serve both large, nationally known ventures and smaller, locally focused entities. Some of their names and their companies’ names might be familiar to you; others you might be seeing for the first time. These executives were identified in conjunction with editors and staff writers across The Business Journals’ network of more than 40 publications, including the Sacramento Business Journal. Each has been featured as part of The Business Journals’ continuing coverage of the newsmakers in those cities.

This is the second installment of The Business Journals’ Influencers series to spotlight executives in the legal field. You can see the lineup of executives identified last year here.

You also can check out our Influencers offerings for other industry segments produced over the past 12 months:

We welcome your comments as you review our new Influencers: Law list and learn more about each of these executives. We also know there are many other good stories to tell.

We look forward to sharing those stories with you through The Business Journals down the line.

Harvey Weinstein’s legal team now includes a pair of lawyers from Chicago, and despite a looming September sexual assault trial, experts say the roster change likely won’t hurt his defense.

Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis this week informed the court they were joining Weinstein’s team after former Casey Anthony attorney Jose Baez announced his departure earlier this month. A February 2018 issue of Chicago magazine described former prosecutor Rotunno as a “hero” to male clients accused of sexual assault and said she’s handled more than 40 sexual misconduct-related cases over the past decade and a half. Weinstein’s legal team has previously included Hollywood power lawyer Benjamin Brafman, Harvard Law professor Ron Sullivan, ex-Kobe Bryant lawyer Pamela Mackey, and former prosecutor Duncan Levin.

Weinstein makes headlines every time someone on his legal team comes or goes, but criminal law experts say such changes aren’t uncommon.

“This happens in a lot of cases,” says Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson. “They just don’t get as much public scrutiny.” Still, Levinson, a former prosecutor who teaches criminal law and procedure, said it could be challenging to keep focus with so many moving parts — and in a high-profile case, public perception is also a challenge. “You have to worry about the messaging to the outside world,” she says. “There may be no problem at all, but everyone starts reading the tea leaves.”

Bill Cosby also had a rotating cast of attorneys, including Brian McMonagle who represented the comedian in his 2017 trial, which ended in a hung jury. He’s been impressed with the quality of the lawyers Weinstein has hired but thinks it’s time for him to make sure his legal team sticks. “It’s getting to a point where, at least superficially, it looks like it’s a pattern,” he says. “Sometimes the grass isn’t greener. The time has come for him to not only obtain counsel but to receive it. To say ‘I’ve got a lawyer, now it’s time to listen to him or her.'”

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