In this article, we explain the role of international law in the resolution of territorial disputes from 1945 to 2000. In doing so, we focus on three outcomes of interest. First, when do states choose to revise the territorial status quo through negotiations instead of force? Second, when are states able to reach a final settlement? Third, when do states prefer a process of legal dispute resolution (i.e., adjudication or arbitration) to bilateral negotiations? To answer these questions, we argue that when the legal principles relevant to the dispute are unambiguous and clearly favor one side, a law-based focal point will emerge. This focal point, in turn, facilitates the settlement process by helping leaders overcome distribution problems, a central obstacle in reaching a final agreement. We find strong and consistent empirical support for our hypotheses regarding international law and peaceful dispute resolution.