Legal Question in Business Law in Illinois

Commission Agreement

A friend asked me to be a outside Sales Agent for her business? I don't want this to ruin a long friendship and would like to have a Commission Agreement. I will only receive commission on the products I bring in. Is it fair to ask for commission on those products where I obtained new clients for her if I resigned my job?

If I filled out this Commission Agreement (legal form) which I found on the internet, would be be considered a legal document if we both signed and notarized it?

Asked on 9/09/03, 6:23 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

John Pembroke John J. Pembroke & Associates LLC

Re: Commission Agreement

On whether a document that you both sign is "legal", the general answer is that any writing intended by the parties to be an agreement is an agreement when signed by the party against whom it will be enforced. Notarization isn't generally required for documents to be "legal". There are some exceptions for wills, some government documents, and some other procedures.

For any business agreement to work, it must be a "win-win", or fair to both parties. It is typical in independent contractor agreements for the right to commission on clients obtained to survive the end of the relationship for some period of time. Typical provisions are for 90 days or one year, or for a declining percentage over a longer period of time.

If there is potential for material commissions, you would be well served to have an attorney involved in preparing a commission agreement for you. There will be issues that may not occur to you, but which are better addressed before there is any profit to fight over.

Our comments are based on treating your question as a hypothetical. Accordingly, our comments could be substantially and materially different were we advised of all of the relevant facts and circumstances. Our comments are by necessity general in nature, and should not be relied upon in taking or forgoing action in your circumstances without retaining an attorney. In order to fully explore your legal matter, you should meet with us or another attorney and bring to any such meeting all relevant documents and correspondence, and any other relevant facts.

We are not hired to be your attorney, and no attorney-client relationship exists between us, unless and until you enter into a written retainer agreement with us, tender the agreed amount for a retainer and it is accepted by us. We reserve the right to decline representation should circumstances change.

As you are aware, in Illinois there are various deadlines for filing a complaint, filing an answer to a complaint, or taking other action in order to preserve your legal rights, and avoid a complete loss of those rights. You should retain counsel immediately in order to be fully advised of your rights, and to be fully informed of the applicable time period within which those rights must be asserted. If you were to delay in doing so, it might result in your potential cause of action being forever barred.

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Answered on 9/10/03, 9:46 am

Peter Ordower Law Office of Peter Ordower

Re: Commission Agreement

Yes, it's fair and prudent to have a written agreement. Most likely, anything signed by both of you can be a binding agreement, although whether or not it's a good agreement obviously depends on its particulars.

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Answered on 9/11/03, 12:38 am

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