Abstract. Most attempts to explicate the authority of law dismiss the possible analogy of such authority with the less pretentious authority of parents, professional bodies, academic faculties, and other similar groups. This article explores that analogy, drawing on discussions of related themes by Ronald Dworkin and others. If agents are sometimes bound without their consent by such limited authority, the authority of law, though broader, may have similar features. Law's claim to peremptory obedience would fail, but the more modest account could still satisfy some long recognized desiderata.