Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    One who represents and acts for another under the contract or relation of agency, q. v. Classification. Agents are either general or special. A general agent is one employed in his capacity as a professional man or master of an art or trade, or one to whom the principal confides his whole business or all transactions or functions of a designated class; or he is a person who is authorized by his principal to execute all deeds, sign all contracts, or purchase all goods, required in a particular trade, business, or employment. See Story, Ag. § 17; Butler v. Maples, 9 Wall. 766, 19 In Ed. 822; Jaques v. Todd, 3 Wend. (N. Y.) 90; Springfield Engine Co., v. Kennedy, 7 Ind. App. 507, 34 N. E. 856; Cruzan v. Smith, 41 Ind. 297; Godshaw v. Struck, 109 Ky. 285, 58 S. W. 781, 51 L. R. A. 668. A special agent is one employed to conduct a particular transaction or piece of business for his principal or authorized to perform a specified act. Bryant v. Moore, 26 Me. 87, 45 Am. Dec. 96; Gibson v. Snow Hardware Co.., 94 Ala. 346. 10 South. 304; Co.oley v. Perrine, 41 N. J. Law, 325, 32 Am. Rep. 210. Agents employed for the sale of goods or merchandise are called "mercantile agents," and are of two principal classes,—brokers and factors, a factor is sometimes called a "commission agent," or "commission merchant." Russ. Merc. Ag. 1. Synonyms. The term "agent" is to be distinguished from its synonyms "servant," "representative," and "trustee." A servant acts in behalf of his master and under the latter's direction and authority, but is regained as a mere instrument, and not as the substitute or proxy of the master. Turner v. Cross, 83 Tex. 218, 18 S. W. 578r 15 L. R. A. 262; People v. Treadwell, 69 Cal. 226, 10 Pac. 502. A representative (such as an executor or an assignee in bankruptcy) owes his power and authority to the law, which puts him in the place of the person represented, although the latter may have designated or chosen the representative. A trustee acts in the interest and for the benefit of one person, but by an authority derived from another person. In international law. A diplomatic agent is a person employed by a sovereign to manage his private affairs, or those of his subjects in his name, at the court of a foreign government. Wolff, Inst. Nat. § 1237. In the practice of the house of lords and privy council. In appeals, solicitors and other persons admitted to practise in those courts in a similar capacity to that of solicitors in ordinary courts, are technically called "agents." Macph. Priv. Coun. 65.
    —Agent and patient. A phrase indicating the state of a person who is required to do a thing, and is at the same time the person to whom it is done.
    —Local agent. One appointed to act as the representative of a corporation and transact its business generally (or business of a particular character) at a given place or within a defined district. See Frick Co., v. Wright, 23 Tex. Civ. App. 340, 65 S. W. 608; Moore v. Freeman's Nat. Bank, 92 N. C. 594; Western, etc.. Organ Co., v. Anderson, 97 Tex. 482, 79 S. W. 517
    —Managing agent. A person who is invested with general power, involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, as distinguished from an ordinary agent or employe, who acts in an inferior capacity, and under the direction and control of superior authority, both in regard to the extent of the work and the manner of executing the same. Reddington v. Mariposa Land & Min. Co... 19 Hun (N. Y.) 405; Taylor v. Granite State Prov. Ass'n, 136 N. Y. 343, 32 N. E. 992, 32 Am. St. Rep. 749; U. S. v. American Bell Tel. Co. (O. C.) 29 Fed. 33; Upper Mississippi Transp. Co. v. Whittaker, 16 Wis. 220; Foster v. Charles Betcher Lumber Co., 5 S. D 57, 58 N. W. 9, 23 L. R. A. 490, 49 Am. St. Rep. 859.
    —Private agent. An agent acting for an individual in his private affairs; as distinguished from a public agent, who represents the government in some administrative capacity.
    — Public agent. An agent of the public, the state, or the government; a person appointed to act for the Dublic in some matter pertaining to the administration of government or the public business. See Story, Ag. § 302; Whiteside v. United States, 93 U. S. 254, 23 L. Ed. 882.
    —Real-estate agent. Any person 'whose business it is to sell, or offer for sale, real estate for others, or to rent houses, stores, or other buildings, or real estate, or to collect rent for others. Act July 13, 1866, c. 49 ; 14 St. at Large, 118. Carstens v. McReavy, 1 Wash. St. 359, 25 Pac. 471.