Originally uploaded in SSRN.


Despite common references to the “invisible college of international lawyers,” and the doctrinal role granted to “the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations,” the role of lawyers, as lawyers, in the creation, development, and maintenance of the international legal order remains oddly underexplored. This short essay, prepared as part of a symposium on “The Role of Non-State Actors in International Law,” explores the role of lawyers as independent actors within international law. It argues that focusing on lawyers can help provide insights into how international law develops — specifically here, how and why a practice of precedent seems emerge even when not doctrinally encouraged or required.