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A great deal has been written about both international law and government lawyering. Most of it has focused on a government legal adviser's duties to give confidential advice to his or her principal, Secretary, Minister, or agency; his or her role in negotiation and litigation; and efforts among legal advisers to develop national and international networks to improve their effectiveness. Too little has been written about the crucial, overlooked responsibility of government international lawyers to explain publicly their government's international law rationale for its actions: what I call "The Legal Adviser's Duty to Explain."

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