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Supply Chain Agreements: Manufacturing, Trade Wars, and Covid-19

Speaker(s): John R. Trentacosta, Vanessa L. Miller, Waqas Shahid
Recorded on: Jul. 30, 2020
PLI Program #: 302026

John R. Trentacosta is a partner in the Litigation Department at Foley & Lardner LLP. John is actively involved in drafting and litigating contracts commonly used in the manufacturing and automotive industries. He frequently represents clients in supply chain disputes. He is the founder and is a member of the firm’s Automotive Industry Team. A respected and widely published author, John has published three books in the areas of contract, UCC and supply chain law. John wrote the leading treatise on commercial law in the State of Michigan entitled Michigan Contract Law.  He is an experienced trial lawyer with multiple trials involving multi-million dollar disputes.  John is also a regular guest lecturer at national and international universities on the topic of legal issues in the supply chain.

John received his undergraduate degree, with high honors, in finance from Michigan State University in 1977.  He graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1980.

John is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and has served as chairperson (1995–96) and council member (1990–95) of the Business Law Section. He has served as chairperson of the UCC Committee (1987-98). He is also a member of the American Bar Association, Business Law and Litigation Sections.

John was named to BTI Consulting Group’s coveted Client Service All-Star Team in 2017. This honor is bestowed upon individual attorneys who deliver outstanding client service according to corporate counsel interviewed at large organization with $1 billion or more in revenue. John has over 35 years of commercial, contract, and supply chain litigation experience. Having published three books in this area, he is recognized as one of Michigan’s leading experts in Article Two of the Uniform Commercial Code involving commercial transactions. In 2010, he was named a BTI Client Service All-Star, an elite group of attorneys nominated solely and exclusively by clients in BTI’s independent study as delivering the absolute best in client service. In addition, John has been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system and was selected for inclusion in the 2006 and 2008 - 2017 Michigan Super Lawyers® lists. John is listed in the 2006 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2010 in the field of commercial litigation. He was named one of the 25 Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and also was named to DBusiness magazine's 2011 list of Top Lawyers in the areas of commercial law and commercial litigation.

John has been invited on multiple occasions to present training programs for Michigan Judges through the Michigan Judicial Institute.  His training has included topics such as contract law, UCC law and supply chain disputes.

Vanessa is chair of the Detroit office’s Litigation Department, lead of Foley’s Supply Chain Solutions Initiative, co-chair of the firm’s Coronavirus Task Force, and a member of the Automotive and Manufacturing Industry Teams as well as the Consumer Law, Finance, and Class Action Practice Groups.  Vanessa’s practice focuses on a wide array of supply chain disputes, including breach of contract and warranty claims, automotive supply chain issues and maintaining continuity of supply, defending manufacturers against class actions, trade secret misappropriation claims and business torts. 

Vanessa has successfully managed, litigated, and tried cases in state and federal courts, as well as handled appellate proceedings. She has significant experience handling complex international arbitrations in various venues, including the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), American Arbitration Association (AAA), Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services Inc. (JAMS) and the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).  Vanessa also has represented clients in commercial mediations, which have resulted in the early resolution of legal disputes and creative business solutions for parties continuing to do business together. 

In addition to her litigation, international arbitration, and mediation experience, Vanessa regularly counsels clients on various commercial contracts, supply chain agreements and related negotiations — she is the author of the forthcoming executive handbook (to be published in 2020) Law of the Automotive and Manufacturing Supply Chain: A Handbook for Success.  Prior to joining Foley, Vanessa was a law clerk to the Honorable Patrick J. Duggan, E.D. Mich. University of Denver College of Law (J.D., summa cum laude); University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (B.A., with distinction).

Waqas Shahid is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura with more than 15 years of multidisciplinary legal, compliance and technology experience, including counseling companies on enterprise compliance and operational risk mitigation (including in the areas of international trade, environmental, and data security/privacy); designing, building, and deploying corporate compliance programs and solutions; conducting internal investigations; and designing and deploying scalable process automation solutions. He is based in New York.

Before joining Ankura, Waqas was a Senior Attorney at a leading aerospace and defense company and led numerous enterprise compliance investigations, conducted enterprise-wide technology systems compliance reviews, and designed and implemented scalable compliance solutions. Earlier in his career, he practiced law at a global Am Law 100 firm, where he counseled numerous clients on trade compliance, environmental, and data security and privacy matters.  Waqas also has extensive experience developing  and  deploying  critical  compliance  software  and  process automation solutions.


  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center, Cum Laude
  • BS, Computer Science, University of Virginia, with High Distinction


  • American Bar Association
  • Washington DC Bar Virginia Bar