The 'Invisible College of International Lawyers' Forty Years Later

15 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2013

See all articles by Santiago Villalpando

Santiago Villalpando

United Nations, Office of Legal Affairs

Date Written: December 4, 2013


Referring to Oscar Schachter’s metaphor of the “invisible college of international lawyers” to describe international law as a profession, this contribution considers the role played by the “invisible college” in contemporary affairs, in light of three developments that have consolidated in the international legal order in recent years, namely: (i) the alleged fragmentation of international law; (ii) the multiplication of international courts and tribunals, with the consequent regularisation of international adjudication; and (iii) the shift of codification efforts away from hard law instruments.

Keywords: International law; profession; invisible college; fragmentation of international law; international adjudication; international courts and tribunals; codification of international law; international law-making.

Suggested Citation

Villalpando, Santiago, The 'Invisible College of International Lawyers' Forty Years Later (December 4, 2013). ESIL 2013 5th Research Forum: International Law as a Profession Conference Paper No. 5/2013, Available at SSRN: or

Santiago Villalpando (Contact Author)

United Nations, Office of Legal Affairs ( email )

United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics