Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2022


Transactional documents are complex, multi-faceted documents reviewed by various audiences at multiple points in time. They are more than descriptive legal devices that dictate the exchange of widgets for cash. While the core of many transactional documents will be the acquisition, creation, or exchange of property or services, transactional documents do more than memorialize that understanding. At first glance, transactional documents may seem simply like expository texts that aim to create the private law between the transacting parties and educate the audience by delivering a sequence of instructions, but transactional documents do much more. They tell the stories of the parties and their transaction, and they can be used to persuade their varied audiences to respond in certain ways. They aim to encourage performance by the transacting parties and are often used by third-party decision makers to render judgment against one or both of the transacting parties. Transactional drafters must thus recognize the complex nature of transactional documents to draft documents that achieve the documents’ goals. ...

Part I of this Article addresses in greater detail the dual goals of transactional drafters, as expressed above. Transactional documents aim to persuade both the transactional parties and third-party decision makers to react and respond to the text in a favorable manner. Conceptualizing transactional documents as persuasive documents strengthens the rationale for incorporating narrative techniques in transactional documents. Part II explores the power of narrative to persuade in both non-legal contexts and legal contexts. Part III of this Article presents illustrative examples of how incorporating narrative techniques can increase the persuasiveness of transactional documents. This Article will demonstrate that, like a good story, a transactional document can be a powerful persuasive tool.