In 1843 the Board of Trustees authorized a chair of law in Franklin College. Joseph Henry Lumpkin, then chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court was appointed to the position. His judicial duties kept him from holding regular classes and there was no regular course of study until 1859.
On June 1, 1859, Lumpkin, along with his son-in-law Thomas R.R. Cobb and family friend William Hope Hull issued a printed announcement of the opening of the "Law Department." The first session would begin October 1. The Georgia General Assembly enacted the charter of the Lumpkin School of Law on December 19, 1859. 1859 Ga. Laws 84-85. The law school became the second of the University's schools and colleges.