Theory and the Doctrinal International Lawyer

Roger O'Keefe


How to lose friends and influence people prejudicially? Say ‘theory’ to a doctrinal international lawyer. Choose your target particularly unwisely and you may even have her reaching for her gun. At least this is the stereotype. The popular image, especially among theorists, is that ‘black-letter’ international lawyers are hostile to theoretical approaches to their field. Like many popular images, there is a grain of truth in it. Ditto, it is a caricature. Doctrinal international lawyers are more latitudinarian than infamy allows. Some of their best friends are theorists, while some go so far as to dabble in the black arts themselves. It takes all sorts.


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