- The Beginning of Yonsei Law’s 100 years of History
Yonsei University with 120 years of history and tradition, started its first lecture on law in 1915 during Japanese colonization.
For the young people of this land who were eager for the independence of Korea, pioneering legal scholars such as Yu Ug-Kyum, Ko Byung-Guk, and Jung Gwang-Hyun opened lectures such as Intro to law, Civil law, and Commercial law in the department of commerce. These lectures were continuously held after the liberation so that young students could become leaders of independent sovereign Korea. In the 1940s, law classes on the principles of law, the Constitution, Chosun administrative law, and domestic legal system were held even in the liberal arts and theology departments.
- Department of Law introduced in College of Liberal Arts
A department of law was established within the college of liberal arts on May 25, 1950 and the first start of full-scale legal education at Yonsei University took place on June 1, 1950 with 50 first-year students.
Only after 25 days, however, the Korean War broke out. It was difficult for the education to be continued. In December of 1952 during Busan evacuation, the number of enrolled students was total 62. 25 first-year students (including 1 female student), 25 second-year students, and 12 third-year students were registered.
In August 1953, when the university returned to Seoul from Busan evacuation, classes began to resume. Though the lectures were mainly held at the student center.
- Department of Law re-placed under College of Political Science and Law
In February 1954, the advisory committee decided to establish College of Political Science and Law and placed the Department of Law under it. Thus, in April of the same year, the law department was renewed as a part of College of Political Science and Law. In May 1956, Gwang-Bok Hall was completed and College of Political Science and Law was relocated from student center to this new building. The educational environment was greatly improved. In March 1969, the Research Institute for Legal Studies was established to revitalize legal research, separated from the Research Institute for Social Science.
In December 1974, with the financial support of US Christian Higher Education Foundation (Korean American Foundation of Yonsei University), Yonsei set up the first "Legal Aid Center" in Korea and conducted legal rescue work for the people. Law students were given the opportunity to experience living laws in people's lives. In early 1969, "Department of Law's 20th Anniversary Celebration Project" was launched by the faculty and alumni in order to promote the independence of law school. In addition, the project fundraised for building a dormitory for law students and the dormitory was completed in October 1979(3 floors, 39 rooms, capacity of 78 people).
- Independence of College of Law
Since the mid-1970s, Yonsei University has set up the reorganization committee and started to study and examine measures to provide efficient and reasonable education. There was a great demand that the establishment of College of Law should no longer be delayed for the legal education development and in December 1980 the plan for College of Law was confirmed.
This led to a new leap in legal education at Yonsei University, 30 years after the establishment of the law department.
With the independence of College of Law, the admission quota was increased to 160 students. If the graduation quota is maintained, 208 new students could be recruited. As a result, a significant number of students successfully have passed the various national examinations such as the bar examination and the higher civil service examination. Entering the academic world also has been actively promoted. Yonsei College of Law was in its heyday. In October 1982, the Department of Law was established at Wonju Campus, in addition to the College of Law in Seoul Campus.
- Soaring Yonsei College of Law
As the era of globalization and information has arrived in the 1990s, Yonsei College of Law established the development committee in June 1993 to set up "Yonsei College of Law Vision 2010 Plan". The committee studied medium/long-term development plans to establish and achieve the educational goals of the College of Law. In February 1994, as a part of "Vision 2010", the Graduate School of Patent and Law was opened to foster a good workforce in the field of intellectual property rights which has been attracting international attention. Later, it has been renamed as Graduate School of Law. In order to actively promote international academic exchanges, academic exchange and cooperation agreements were concluded with East Asia Law Center of University of Wisconsin in US, Chuo Law School in Japan, Max Planck Institute of Munchen University in Germany in 1996, and with Hokkaido Law School in Japan in 1999.
Providing liberal law theory education to the Supreme Court judges and High Court judges in Mongolian People’s Republic from March to May 1995, Yonsei contributed to strengthening ties between Korea and Mongolia. In September 2002, a joint LL.M program was established with American University of the United States in order to practice globalized legal education. In December 1995, "50th Anniversary Celebration of Yonsei Law" was organized by the alumni association and raised 5 billion KRW of building funds for the establishment of new educational space. As a result, the construction of College of Law facilities was decided in March 1998, the design was completed in April 1999, the construction started in April 2000, and the facilities were completed in December 2001. In May 1998, alumni president Kim Woo-joong donated 2 billion KRW to support law students preparing for the judicial examination. In June 2000, Yonsei Law Promotion Foundation was established to provide scholarships and support faculty research and international exchange.
In March 1996, the capacity of Yonsei College of Law has increased from 160 to 210 students. In March 2003, it has increased to 259 students.
Since spring semester of 2000, College of Law could increase their capacity even more. As a result, the physical and human conditions necessary for "Yonsei Law Vision 2010 plan" were provided. Since then, Yonsei College of Law has achieved remarkable growth both qualitatively and quantitatively.
- Establishment of a Yonsei Law School
The introduction of the law school system has been constantly discussed to find a new era of legal education. In July 2007, the so-called "law school bill" passed the National Assembly, and the law school era has begun.
Since 2002, ahead of the introduction of the law school system, Yonsei College of Law has already worked on fostering the best education and research infrastructure by completing Gwang-bok Hall and inviting a number of excellent professors. In May 2008, the Law Library(on the 5th floor of Yonsei-Samsung Library) was completed and the annex to Gwang-bok Hall(mock trial courtroom and international conference room) was completed in November 2008. As a result of these efforts, in 2000, Yonsei College of Law ranked first in the National Law School Review conducted by the Korean University Education Council. In 2008, it ranked first in domestic private universities and second in overall, in the evaluation for law schools that applied for preliminary approval. Yonsei has firmly established itself as a leading law school in the law school era.
Yonsei Law School has set up a new vision, "Yonsei Law Worldwide Law 1-10-1(which means "the best in Korea as the school is launched, and the best in Asia within 10 years")". Through nurturing internationally competent lawyers in the global era, Yonsei Law School will faithfully carry out the specialization of Korean law and the calling of globalization.