What are your thoughts on huge non-solicitation agreements, with "talent providers"?

I'm an interactive designer. These days I tend to call myself a UX Designer. I have my own company, and a modest number of great clients. I also occasionally need to take a more job-like contract, to help pay the bills.

I was recently in the final stretch of preparing to start one of those contracts, for a local government office, through one of their preferred vendor "talent providers".

Then I was hit with a last-minute request to sign a 2 year non-solicitation agreement.

It was from a middle-man "talent provider", who seemed to be flexing their "preferred vendor" muscle.

For context, this "talent provider's" job job is to find the right person (me), introduce them to their client (the actual client), and then sit back and collect a percentage of my pay for the duration of the project.

Now, I have no huge problems with non-solicitation agreements in general. I've even used them myself.

But I felt 2 years was a bit excessive, especially for a government client. I mean, is that even legal?

So, in the same way I normally execute a contract, I proposed a slightly shorter term, to which the recruiter for the vendor replied with an unmoving "nope", and then a threat to give the contract to another designer.

Then the recruiter also gave a 2 hour deadline, to sign the non-solicitation agreement, "or else".

Finally, the recruiter emailed a letter, saying they were going to find another person to fill the shoes, and that was that. Just a few days before my start date on the project.

I felt a bit bullied, and now will have to find another project, after having already given notice to my previous client.

So what's your take? Should I have just signed the agreement, or should we as "the talent" take a stand on gigantic non-solicitation agreements, and protect our freedom to potentially nab that government job?

How about for huge non-solicitation agreements, in general?


You made the right call buddy. It sounds like a nightmare contract. There are many non-demonstrable factors in the work you do. They all rely on creative fluidity. If the client is belligerent, they will never get top-quality work.

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