The (W)hole Story: Using NLP to Study Gaps in Commercial Contracts

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Through choice-of-forum provisions such as arbitration clauses or court selection clauses, contractual parties have the opportunity to determine where and how their disputes should be solved ex ante. Typically taught within the first year of a US legal education, these provisions, which appear to be among the most basic and essential clauses in commercial agreements, are short, simple to understand, and easy to draft. And yet, some of the most sophisticated commercial actors routinely fail to include choice-of-forum provisions in their agreements. We explore this apparent discrepancy using advances in computational text analysis, which allow for analysis of increasingly large contractual data sets with accuracy and granularity.

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