Saturday, June 18, 2016

Using Narrative in Transactional Documents

Susan Chesler and Karen Sneddon have written a very interesting article on including narrative in transactional documents. Once Upon a Transaction: Narrative Techniques and Drafting, 68 Oklahoma Law Review No. 2 (2016)

Here is the introduction:

A granddaughter joins the family business as a partner. An entrepreneur

licenses his newest product. Two parties decide to settle a dispute. A

charitable idea materializes as a private foundation. A parent's belief in the

power of education is perpetuated by a trust agreement. Each of these

events forms a narrative. A transaction is more than the scratch of pens

across signature pages or the click of keys to email an executed document.

A transaction is itself a story. These stories, made with provisions and

clauses, result in the formation of contracts, agreements, and wills.

Conceptualizing transactions as narratives benefits the negotiation, drafting,

implementation, interpretation, and, ultimately, enforceability of the

transactional document.

Here is a passage from the article giving specific reasons for including narrative:

Once these misconceptions are removed, drafters can see yet another

benefit narrative techniques offer: opportunities and strategies to engage

clients. Narrative techniques further the attorney-client relationship by

promoting a closer examination of individual client goals and designing

documents to further those goals.21 It should be remembered that not only

the drafting but also the negotiation, implementation, interpretation, and

enforceability of a transactional document may benefit from

conceptualizing transactions as narratives. After all, at the heart of all

transactions is a client’s story.22 Deliberate use of narrative techniques in

the drafting of transactional documents acknowledges the presence of this

story and leverages its presence to further the intent of the parties.

You can access the article here.


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