Trentacosta to receive 12th Annual Stephen H. Schulman Outstanding Business Lawyer Award

John R. Trentacosta, a longtime partner with Foley & Lardner LLP, has been named the recipient of the 12th Annual Stephen H. Schulman Outstanding Business Lawyer Award by the State Bar of Michigan Business Law Section.

In his role at Foley & Lardner, Trentacosta has been actively involved in drafting and litigating contracts commonly used in the manufacturing and automotive industries. He frequently represents clients in supply chain disputes, particularly automotive and supplier-manufacturer contract cases in the automotive and manufacturing industries. Trentacosta was one of the founding partners of the firm’s Detroit office in 2000.

A 1980 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, Trentacosta received his undergraduate degree in finance from Michigan State University with high honors in 1977. He has been named one of the 25 Leaders in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and also was named to DBusiness magazine’s list of Top Lawyers in the areas of commercial law and commercial litigation. Recently he 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 organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue.

Trentacosta has served as chairperson (1995–96) and council member (1990–95) of the Business Law Section. He has served as chairperson of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Committee (1987-98). He 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.

As an experienced litigator for more than 35 years, Trentacosta wrote the treatise Michigan Contract Law. He published a second book of forms under UCC Article 2. He has also published numerous articles on UCC issues and commercial litigation in a wide range of publications from the Michigan Bar Journal and OESA Supplier News to Material Handing Management and Inside Supply Management.

 “I was very flattered and honored, said the Northville resident when asked about being named the 2017 recipient of the Schulman Award. “When you look at the previous recipients who have been honored, you are looking at some of the biggest names in business law in the state of Michigan over the past few decades. It is very humbling.”

“I made it a goal of mine early in my career to be published in legal and trade journals whenever I could and to write books,” Trentacosta said. “I have been fortunate that being published has allowed me to become known in the industry as a thought leader, which is what you strive for professionally.” 

Trentacosta will be introduced at the Schulman Award Ceremony, held in conjunction with the Business Law Institute and the Section’s Annual Meeting on October 6 in Grand Rapids.

“My partners and I are thrilled that John’s great work for his clients, his firm and for the state’s manufacturing and automotive industries is being recognized,” said Daljit S. Doogal, a partner in the Detroit office of Foley & Lardner LLP and head of the firm’s Business Law Department nationally. “John’s reputation and professionalism helped establish and grow the Detroit office of Foley & Lardner. We could not have done it without him. The recognition is well deserved.”

Trentacosta said he first became involved in the Business Law Section as a young attorney in the late 1980s and considers the time he has spent as a Section member and board member invaluable. He recommends that all young attorneys spend time contributing to the State Bar of Michigan in whatever specialty he or she is involved in.

“I was able to interact with some of the most experienced and accomplished attorneys in the state because of my work with the Section. That experience served me well in my professional development,” Trentacosta said.

The Outstanding Business Lawyer Award was named after Prof. Schulman, who taught several business law courses during a lengthy tenure at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. Schulman received the Donald H. Gordon Award for Excellence in Teaching and was chosen by the student body as the school’s Professor of the Year several times. Schulman was also instrumental in the drafting of much of Michigan’s corporate law that is still in place today.

The Business Law Section established the Stephen H. Schulman Outstanding Business Lawyer Award in 2006, to be presented annually. The prestigious award honors Michigan business lawyers who consistently exemplify the characteristics the Business Law Section seeks to foster and facilitate: the highest quality of professionalism, the highest quality of practice, and an unwavering dedication to service, ethical conduct, and collegiality within the practice of law.

 Past recipients of the Schulman Award include Cy Moscow, the late Martin Oetting, Hugh Makens and Jim Bruno in 2006; Charlie McCallum and Verne Hampton in 2007; Ann Baker in 2008; Justin Klimko in 2009; Alex DeYonker in 2010; Jim Cambridge in 2011; Jeff Ammon in 2012; Dan Minkus in 2013; Diane Akers in 2014, Larry Schultz in 2015; and Timothy Damschroder in 2016.