The origin of the Law Research Institute can be traced back to the Comparative Law Research Institute, which was established in April 1961 as a subsidiary research institute of the Seoul National University Shool of Law. The Comparative Law Research Institute was reorganized as the Korean Legal Research Institute in March 1964, and renamed again to Seoul National University Legal Research Institute pursuant to the amendment to the Decree for the establishment of Seoul National University in 1970. The Institute became a legally independent national research institute.
The Law Research Institute is designed to support and develop legal education and culture in the nation. The mission of the Institute is to publish and disseminate theories and practices of law. The Institute researches major legal issues, collaborates with domestic and foreign research institutes, and initiates various research projects. The Institute also publishes academic books, journals and annotations of legal judgments. The Seoul Law Journal has been published quarterly by the Institute and it is regarded as a respectable legal journal both domestically and internationally. In addition, the Institute facilitates the research and publication of textbooks, organizes lectures, research presentations and academic competitions, and invites foreign legal scholars.