72 Nw. U. L. Rev. 217 (1977-1978)
Invisible College of International Lawyers

handle is hein.journals/illlr72 and id is 229 raw text is: Copyright 1977 by Northwestern University School of Law    Printed in U.S.A.
Northwestern University Law Review                          Vol. 72, No. 2
THE INVISIBLE COLLEGE OF INTERNATIONAL
LAWYERS
Oscar Schachter*
Among the many distinctions of Brunson MacChesney's notable
career have been the positions of leadership to which he was elected by
his fellow international lawyers. Professor MacChesney did not treat
these offices as merely honorific. He devoted himself with vigor and
enthusiasm to the collective efforts to strengthen the role of international
law in achieving its aims of peace and justice. As President of the
American Society of International Law, he had a leading part in expand-
ing the work of research and development of the Society. He was
especially instrumental in opening new paths toward interdisciplinary
work and collaboration with international lawyers throughout the world. 1
In light of this aspect of Professor MacChesney's career, it seems appro-
priate on this occasion to offer some reflections on the professional
community of international lawyers.
That professional community, though dispersed throughout the
world and engaged in diverse occupations, constitutes a kind of invisible
college dedicated to a common intellectual enterprise. As in the case of
other disciplines, its members are engaged in a continuous process of
communication and collaboration. Evidence of this process is found in
the journals and yearbooks of international law, in the transnational
movement of professors and students, and in the numerous conferences,
seminars and colloquia held in all parts of the globe. But this communica-
tion is by no means confined to the realm of scholarship. For the
international bodies and conferences of an official character are largely
composed of jurists who are part of the active professional community
and who maintain intellectual contact with the scholarly side of the
profession. The invisible college thus extends into the sphere of govern-
ment, resulting in a pinitration pacifique of ideas from the nongovern-
mental into official channels. It would be unrealistic, however, to think of
* Oscar Schachter, J.D., Columbia University (1939), is Professor of Law at Columbia
Law School. He is a member of the Institute of International Law, an editor of the American
Journal of International Law and a past President of the American Society of International
Law. Many of the ideas in this article were expressed in a special report prepared by the
author on the role of the Institute of International Law and printed in INSTrrUT DE DROIT
INTERNATIONAL, LIVRE DU CENTENAIRE 1873-1973: EVOLUTION ET PERSPECTIVES DU DROIT
INTERNATIONAL 403-51 (1973).
I Remarks of Brunson MacChesney, 1965 PRoc. AM. SOC. INT'L L. 224.

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