Week 1: Agency Relationships

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Week 1: Agency Relationships

Week 1: Agency Relationships

It is always headline news when some young athlete fresh out of college (or sometimes even high school) signs a professional sports contract for large amounts of money, before actually playing a single minute of professional sports. Consider Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons who signed a 6-year, $72 million contract that included $34.75 million in guarantees. Due to salary caps for rookies in the NBA, LeBron James started his career with a salary of nearly $13 million, but also quickly received a number of lucrative endorsements from such companies as Nike and Coca Cola. These young athletes are able to receive such astounding offers due to the behind-the-scenes work of a personal agent, whose sole task is to arrange the most profitable contracts possible.

Whether pertaining to sports, entertainment, or even a store clerk working on behalf of a store owner, agents play a large role in the business world today. This week, you will be introduced to the legal definition of an agent and what requirements are necessary for an agency relationship to exist and the agent to be granted legal authority. You will also consider the responsibilities and liabilities that exist between the agents and the principals as a result of the agency arrangement.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Distinguish between the parties involved in a typical agency arrangement
  • Evaluate whether the requirements for a legal agency relationship are in place
  • Analyze the creation of agency authority
  • Compare the duties that agents and principals have to each other
  • Identify the circumstances when an agent or principal can be held liable for the actions of each other to a third party

Photo Credit: Paul Bradbury / Caiaimage / Getty Images


Learning Resources

This page contains the Learning Resources for this week. Be sure to scroll down the page to see all of this week’s assigned Learning Resources. To access select media resources, please use the media players below and/or the course DVD (as applicable).

REQUIRED READINGS

Miller, R. (2014). Business law today: The essentials (10th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

    • Chapter 17, “Agency”
    • This chapter introduces the concept of legal agency, when an individual (agent) has legal authority to act in the name of another. The material covers how agency relationships are formed, the duties of both the agents and the principles, how an agent obtains authority, and finally, liability in agency relationships.

REQUIRED MEDIA

Week 1 Overview
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 10 minutes. 

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Introduction to business law [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu
Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 6 minutes.
 


1.Discussion: Understanding Agency Relationships

Individuals such as entertainers, athletes, authors, or artists will often opt to hire an agent to help manage their affairs and promote the individual’s talents. There are five generally accepted duties assigned to an agent- performance, notification, loyalty, obedience, and accounting. Agents need to be aware of possible conflicts of interest. For example, a dual-agent situation would present a conflict of interest; there are many other examples as well. It is important, when considering hiring an agent, to understand key terms and responsibilities that are important for the agent to execute. In addition to your course text, the Internet can provide information on agencies and the types of services offered.

Explore a number of agencies using the Internet to see how services offered are similar. With these thoughts in mind, respond to the following.

In the first portion of your posting, address these points:

  • Suppose you were seeking an agent to represent you either for sports or for publishing. What types of information can you find out about agencies online?
  • If you were to hire an agent, what key terms would you want to make sure are in the agreement?
  • How can the duties of an agent lead to conflicts of interest in the course of carrying out the role of agent? Give examples.

Although an agency agreement is usually formed on the basis of what the agent will do for the principal, it is a two-way consensual agreement, implying some responsibility on both sides.

In the second portion of your posting, address these points:

  • To what extent should a principal be held liable for the torts of an agent?
  • What factors should be used in deciding if a principal is liable in a particular situation?
  • What factors are typically used?

2.Assignment 1: Agency Agreements

Acquiring agents in the entertainment field or for sports stars are well-known examples of the use of agency agreements. In actuality, agency agreements are much more common than most people realize. In a 1- to 2-page paper, describe at least two agency arrangements that you have been involved in recently. Include information on the following:

  • The parties involved
  • The terms of the agreement
  • Identify the type of agency agreement formed
  • Your responsibilities in the arrangement

Your written assignments must follow APA guidelines. Be sure to support your work with specific citations from this week’s Learning Resources and additional scholarly sources as appropriate.

3.Assignment 2: The Granting of Authority

An important part of agency is legally granting the agent the authority to act in the client’s name. By signing such a document, both parties become part of a binding contract and assume certain liabilities and responsibilities. In a 2- to 3-paragraph paper, describe each type of authority, how to give that authority, and then include an example for each.

Next, draft a general power of attorney allowing one business partner to make all legal decisions while the other partner has an extended hospital stay and recovery after major surgery. Your document does not need to adhere to strict legal format or language, but should include the relevant provisions that would establish and grant the needed authority.

Your written assignments must follow APA guidelines. Be sure to support your work with specific citations from this week’s Learning Resources and additional scholarly sources as appropriate.

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