The university’s registrar Lee Sanders and director of procurement Alison Holmes invited the firms to make presentations in a retender for the university’s work.
Dickinson Dees and Pinsents won four-year contracts lasting until 2010.
Pinsents has advised the university since 1989. Employment partner Chris Mordue and Nicola Hart, head of the firm’s university group, will lead the Pinsents team.
Head of education Rowan Ferguson led the Dickinson Dees team.
In the past 12 months Pinsents has won places on the legal panels of the University of Manchester, University of Wolverhampton and the London School of Economics.
Holmes and Ferguson were both unavailable for comment.