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.
This article showcases the use of narrative techniques applicable to the drafting of transactional documents. Tethered to the fundamental principles of good drafting, the article will highlight the use of stock stories, plot and narrative movement, character, point of view, narrative setting, themes, and motifs across a spectrum of transactional documents.
Susan M. Chesler & Karen J. Sneddon, Once Upon a Transaction: Narrative Techniques and Drafting, 68 Okla. L. Rev. 263 (2016).