Saturday, June 18, 2016
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
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.