Agency Law

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 4,751 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Power of Attorney?

Post Project Now

Agency law is a branch of commercial law that governs the relationship between principals and agents. In the business world, a principal is a person or entity that hires an agent to act on their behalf in various capacities. This relationship is created through a legal agreement, and it involves a variety of rights, duties, and responsibilities for both the principal and the agent.

It is a complex area that covers a wide range of issues, including the agent's authority, the duties and obligations of the principal, and the liability of both parties in case of a breach of contract or negligence. Understanding agency law is critical for businesses, as it can significantly impact how they operate and the legal relationships they form with other parties.

Essentials of Agency Law

  • Agency Relationship

    An agency relationship is created when a principal hires an agent to act on their behalf. In California, this relationship can be established through express agreement, implied agreement, or by operation of law.

  • Agent's Authority

    The agent's authority is determined by the principal and can be either actual or apparent. Actual authority is the express or implied power given to the agent by the principal. In contrast, apparent authority is the power that a reasonable person would assume the agent has based on the actions of the principal.

  • Principal's Duties

    The principal has several duties to the agent, including the duty to compensate the agent, the duty to indemnify the agent for any losses or liabilities incurred while acting on behalf of the principal, and the duty to provide the agent with the necessary tools and resources to carry out their duties.

  • Agent's Duties

    The agent has several duties to the principal, including the duty of loyalty, the duty of obedience, and the duty of care. The duty of loyalty requires the agent to act in the principal's best interests, while the duty of obedience requires the agent to follow the principal's lawful instructions. The duty of care requires the agent to act with reasonable care and skill when carrying out their duties.

  • Termination of the Relationship

    The agency relationship can be terminated by either the principal or the agent. In California, termination can occur through mutual agreement, expiration of the agreement, or by operation of law. Additionally, the principal can revoke the agent's authority at any time unless the agency agreement provides otherwise.

Overall, agency law in California is a complex area that requires careful consideration and attention to detail when creating and managing agency relationships. Both principals and agents have important rights and duties that must be respected to ensure the relationship is successful and legally compliant.

Importance of Agency Law

  • Regulating Business Relationships

    Agency law regulates the relationships between principals and agents in California, which is important for businesses operating in the state. By providing clear rules and guidelines for these relationships, agency law helps businesses manage their legal obligations and avoid disputes.

  • Defining Legal Duties

    Agency law in California defines the legal duties of both principals and agents, which helps to establish clear expectations for the relationship. This includes the duty of loyalty, the duty of care, and the duty of obedience, which are all essential for creating a successful agency relationship.

  • Protecting Parties from Liability

    Agency law in California helps to protect both principals and agents from liability by establishing rules around the scope of the agent's authority and the duties of the principal. This can help prevent disputes and ensure parties are held accountable for their actions.

  • Enforcing Contracts

    Agency law in California plays an important role in enforcing agency contracts. This includes ensuring that the contract is legally binding, that the parties have the necessary authority to enter into the contract, and that the contract terms are fulfilled.

  • Supporting Business Growth

    Finally, agency law in California can support business growth by providing a framework for businesses to establish relationships with agents and expand their operations. By clarifying both parties' legal obligations and expectations, agency law can help businesses build successful and sustainable partnerships.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Ryenne S.

190 projects on CC
View Profile

Richard N.

100 projects on CC
View Profile

Elbert T.

3 projects on CC
View Profile

Jane C.

112 projects on CC
View Profile

Key Terms

  • Principal: The principal is the person or entity that hires an agent to act on their behalf. In California, principals have a duty to compensate their agents, provide them with necessary resources, and indemnify them for any losses or liabilities incurred while acting on behalf of the principal.
  • Agent: An agent is a person or entity authorized to act on behalf of a principal. Agents have a duty of loyalty, obedience, and care to the principal, and they must act in the best interests of the principal at all times.
  • Authority: Authority refers to the power given to an agent by the principal to act on their behalf. In California, there are two types of authority: actual authority, which is expressly or impliedly given to the agent by the principal, and apparent authority, which is the authority that a reasonable person would assume the agent has based on the actions of the principal.
  • Duty of Loyalty: The duty of loyalty is a fundamental duty of the agent to act in the principal's best interests. This means that the agent cannot engage in activities that are in conflict with the interests of the principal.
  • Duty of Care: The duty of care is the obligation of the agent to act with reasonable care and skill when carrying out their duties on behalf of the principal. This means that the agent must use their knowledge and expertise to make informed decisions that are in the principal's best interests.


Agency law in California is a critical component of the legal framework that governs the relationship between principals and agents. Whether in the context of real estate transactions, employment agreements, or other business arrangements, agency law plays a key role in defining the rights and responsibilities of each party and ensuring that contracts are upheld.

In California, agency relationships can be created through express agreement, implied agreement, or the actions of the parties involved. Once an agency relationship has been established, the principal and the agent are bound by certain legal obligations, including a duty of loyalty, care, and duty to act in good faith.

If you are looking to get free pricing proposals from vetted lawyers that are 60% less than typical law firms, you can click here to get started. By comparing multiple proposals for free, you can save the time and stress of finding a quality lawyer for your business needs.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

Orly B. on ContractsCounsel
View Orly
5.0 (4)
Member Since:
April 21, 2022

Orly B.

Free Consultation
New York (virtual)
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Tel Aviv University

Orly Boger has worked in the high tech industry and in a leading law firm before launching her law firm. Orly focuses on startup companies and technology transactions. She structures and negotiates software and technology license agreements, strategic partnerships, cloud-based/SaaS agreements, internet related transactions, OEM agreements, supply, distribution, telecommunications. In addition, Orly has experience in serving as an in-house legal counsel for start up companies at various phases of their development, providing strategic legal advise to entrepreneurs and emerging companies with a comprehensive understanding of the business and legal issues. She has been helping companies develop a legal strategy for all aspects of their operations, from commercial transactions and partnerships, scalable SaaS or services agreements, privacy policies, employment related policies, open source licensing and much more.

Brian S. on ContractsCounsel
View Brian
5.0 (5)
Member Since:
April 16, 2022

Brian S.

Chief Legal Officer
Free Consultation
Washington, DC
14 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, PA
Duquesne Law School

Corporate attorney with 13+ years of in-house counsel, people leadership and client management experience. Provides legal expertise and a business-oriented approach to problem solving and building lines of business. Consistently works under pressure, prioritizing and managing workload and simultaneous tasks to meet deadlines in a changing, fast-paced environment.

Igor B. on ContractsCounsel
View Igor
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
May 4, 2022

Igor B.

Free Consultation
Atlanta, GA
13 Yrs Experience
Licensed in GA
Georgia State University College of Law

As a corporate lawyer, I have dealt with international transactions, complex litigation and arbitration, regulatory compliance, and multijurisdictional tax planning. In March 2021, I started my firm and shifted my professional focus to working with start-ups, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and families. I help my clients structure and run their businesses and take care of their assets, including intellectual property issues and estate planning for their families. I try to bring big law quality and small firm personal attention to every client.

Zachary J. on ContractsCounsel
View Zachary
5.0 (49)
Member Since:
May 27, 2022

Zachary J.

Free Consultation
Crown Point, IN
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
The University of Michigan Law School

I am a solo-practitioner with a practice mostly consisting of serving as a fractional general counsel to growth stage companies. With a practical business background, I aim to bring real-world, economically driven solutions to my client's legal problems and pride myself on efficient yet effective work.

Patrycja S. on ContractsCounsel
View Patrycja
Member Since:
March 28, 2022

Patrycja S.

Free Consultation
Cleveland, OH, United States
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in OH
Cleveland Marshall College of Law

Freelance attorney helping others beat overflow work by assisting with legal research, legal drafting, discovery, litigation support and client relations.

Jerry L. on ContractsCounsel
View Jerry
Member Since:
May 16, 2022

Jerry L.

Free Consultation
Kingsport, Tennessee
6 Yrs Experience
Licensed in TN
University of Tennessee

Jerry provides legal advice to business owners regarding contracts, business law, labor & employment, wills and estates, and real estate.

Dan P. on ContractsCounsel
View Dan
Member Since:
May 2, 2022

Dan P.

Free Consultation
New York
16 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
University of San Francisco School of Law

I primarily work with small businesses and the self-employed. I help my clients build sustainable businesses, navigate risk, and resolve conflicts. Most of my cases involve contract review, drafting, negotiation, and disputes; I also work on business entity formation, employment and independent contractor issues, copyright licenses, trademark registration, and more.

Cindy A. on ContractsCounsel
View Cindy
Member Since:
May 4, 2022

Cindy A.

Contracts Manager
Free Consultation
Durham, NC
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NC

Attorney that has worked in both litigation and transactional fields. Motivated and personable professional. Speaks fluent Spanish and very basic Portuguese.

Michael V. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
Member Since:
May 5, 2022

Michael V.

Corporate Counsel
Free Consultation
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in MO
Saint Louis University

Seven years experience reviewing and drafting corporate and transactional documents, including NDAs, LLC operating agreements, MSAs, employment agreements, etc.

Brittany S. on ContractsCounsel
View Brittany
Member Since:
May 6, 2022

Brittany S.

Free Consultation
New York / New Jersey
1 Yr Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY
Touro Law Center

I am licensed in New York and New Jersey. I graduated with my J.D. from Touro University Law Center, Summa Cum Laude, in 2021. In 2018, I graduated from SUNY Farmingdale with a B.S. in Sport Management and a minor in Business Management. I have experience in real estate law and insurance defense, including employment law. Please note, I do not carry malpractice insurance.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call