History & Heritage

Training lawyers since 1876


Rich Heritage

The University of Law is one of the UK's longest-established specialist providers of legal education. Our origins can be traced back to 1876 with the formation of the leading tutorial firm Gibson & Weldon, and later on, with the establishment of The Law Society School of Law. In 1962 the two were amalgamated to establish The College of Law. We were the first-ever independent institution to be granted degree awarding powers and not long after, in 2012 we gained university title.

We’re at the heart of legal education as the acknowledged leader in innovative, professional legal education for prospective lawyers and professional development training for those already qualified. Over the years, we have worked with virtually every UK law firm to help meet their training and development needs, with many firms sending their trainees exclusively to us.

We made history in 2006 by becoming the first independent institution to be granted degree awarding powers by the Privy Council, leading to the development of our professionally-focused Bachelor and Master of Laws degree programmes.

With a rich heritage and a reputation for innovation and contemporary teaching practices, we continuously focus on developing the best legal minds.

An Exciting New Chapter

In 2012, we were granted full university title and changed our name from The College of Law to The University of Law. This was an important development in our long history, reinforcing our absolute commitment to providing professional legal education of the highest quality to serve the needs of the legal profession and future generations of lawyers.

Our sale in 2012 resulted in a fund of circa £200m which allowed the creation of The Legal Education Foundation – one of the largest independent educational charities in the UK, dedicated to promoting the advancement of legal education and the study of law for future generations of students. It also allowed us to establish a University of Law scholarship fund of circa £400,000 per year.

Key Milestones


  • First intake with GISMA Business School in Berlin
  • Announced arrangement with University of Liverpool to deliver GDL and LPC on their campus
  • Announced launch of first overseas campus in Hong Kong opening in September 2019
  • Announced launch of new campus in Nottingham opening in September 2019
  • MA Law launches
  • LPC launches at our Reading Campus in collaboration with the University of Reading
  • We are awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework
  • Law with International Business launches at London Bloomsbury Campus
  • We have been delivering solicitor apprenticeships since they were approved for delivery in 2016, launching a revised programme incorporating LLB LPS in 2017
  • We are ranked 1st for Student Satisfaction in the National Student Survey
  • The University of Law Business School launches 
  • Alternative Business Structure licence granted, allowing our students to work on real pro bono cases
  • The University of Law is acquired by Global University Systems (GUS), a leading education and training provider with global interests and ambitions
  • BPTC course launches at our Leeds Campus
  • Collaboration with Exeter University launched
  • Our Leeds Campus opens
  • The College of Law is granted full university title and becomes The University of Law
  • We welcome our first undergraduate students to study LLB Law
  •  Our Bristol Campus opens
  •  Our Manchester Campus opens
  • We establish the Legal Services Institute, an independent legal policy think-tank, under the leadership of Professor Stephen Mayson 
  • Launch of our LL.M Master of Laws programme in association with the International Bar Association
  • Launch of our Alumni Association
  • We establish Pathways to Law in conjunction with the Sutton Trust - a major initiative to increase access to law careers for state school children
  • We are the first independent institution to be granted degree awarding powers by the Privy Council
  • Our London Moorgate Campus opens
  • Launch of our Future Lawyers Association, designed to provide free careers advice and information for aspiring lawyers (now known as the Future Lawyers Network)
  • We are the first major law school to embrace e-learning, with the introduction of our ground-breaking i-Tutorial programme
  • Launch of our Public Access for Barristers course - the first course of its kind for barristers wishing to work directly with the public
  • Our Birmingham Campus opens
  • The first law school to offer specialist career routes for the Legal Practice Course
  • Launch of our Higher Rights training - enabling solicitors to qualify to represent clients in the Higher Courts
  • Launch of our International Practice Diploma Programme in association with the International Bar Association (now replaced by our LL.M in International Legal Practice)
  • We are the first law school to introduce pro bono clinics for law students
  • We work with the Open University to launch their law degree
  • Launch of our Bar Vocational Course for aspiring barristers (now known as the Bar Professional Training Course)
  • Launch of our Professional Skills Course, designed to give trainee solicitors vital extra knowledge during their training contract
  • Our careers service is established
  • Launch of our skills-based Legal Practice Course for aspiring solicitors - replacing the old Final Examination
  • We are the first provider to offer the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test, enabling lawyers from other jurisdictions to qualify as solicitors in England and Wales
  • Our London Bloomsbury Campus opens
  • Our York Campus opens
  • Launch of the first compulsory CPD course - the Accounts Course in Articles for trainee solicitors
  • Launch of our 36-week Final Examination course for aspiring solicitors
  • We launch the first-ever law conversion course for non-law graduates - the Common Professional Exam (now known as the Graduate Diploma in Law)
  • We change the face of legal education by proposing compulsory vocational training for aspiring solicitors and a law conversion course for non-law graduates
  • Our Chester Campus opens
  • Our first training Campus opens - Braboeuf Manor in Guildford 
  • Launch of our first courses – 'crash courses' for qualified legal practitioners
  • The University of Law is born! Established as The College of Law by the Law Society, we were an amalgamation of the Law Society School of Law and tutorial firm Gibson and Weldon
  • The Law Society establishes its School of Law
  • Leading tutorial firm Gibson & Weldon is formed

As a student, you were being taught by people who had and still were practising in law

Nick Connor , MD Volvo Car UK, ULaw Graduate