Anyone who actually signs with an agent is foolish. There's no need to sign a contract with an agent. I've been writing and publishing for years, have had three agents and never signed with any of them.
Uh huh. Glad to hear it. Hope it continues to work well for you.
I don't work that way. I like my clients to know, in writing, what they're going to pay. I like them to know, in writing, how to get out of my clutches. I like them to know, in writing, that the laws of the state of Rabbitania apply. I like them to know, in writing, that I may have to pay a foreign rights agent, and how much that will cost them. I like them to know in writing, what expenses I charge them for and when. I like them to know, in writing, that if they leave the agency, they still have to cough up commissions for work I sold.
This is a business. It's not a social relationship. That means we're not taking vows "for life" and "better or worse". It's a letter of agreement that spells out our understanding.
Some agents do not have letters of agreement, or written contracts. They rely instead on the publishing contract to spell out the agent's duties. That's all good and well till you get to the part the publishing contracts don't address at all. Like expenses, communication, foreign rights, film rights, binding arbitration, and the fact I represent people whose work competes with yours.
I look on an agency contract as a statement of good faith by me to you.
You can disagree all you want, but it certainly doesn't make my clients foolish. Foolishness is, as they say, represented elsewhere.