Technologist - The FindLaw Legal Technology Blog

Are Desktops Better for Law Firm Lawyers?

While everyone over the past two decades has been clamoring for the best laptop they can afford, a recent study among law firms shows that desktops have not fallen out of fashion. Nearly half of the law firms that responded to the 2017 LTN survey stated that in the next hardware refresh, they planned to get desktops for their lawyers.

Sure, being able to remotely access the network, files, or whatever digital resources a firm has available would make a laptop seem like the right choice for firm associates, but when it comes to security and cost, desktops tend to outperform laptops for a few simple reasons.

1. Replacement and Repair Cost

When a laptop breaks, it's usually due to a drop, or some other mishandling. This tends to result in a repair that costs more than a replacement, not to mention unintended financial losses. 

Desktops rarely break due to being dropped, sat on, or having their keyboard filled with coffee, soda, or other liquids. And when desktops do break for these reasons, you'll only need to replace the broken component, such as the waterlogged keyboard, punched through monitor, or severely kicked-in computer tower.

2. Purchase Cost

Some things likely won't ever change. Like laptops and desktops of equal specs costing drastically different amounts of money. If you've been computer shopping recently, you know that you can get a lot more desktop than laptop for the same price.

3. Security Risks

In addition to cost, laptops present a few unique security risks. The biggest one is loss due to theft or inadvertence. Working out in public, like at an airport, café, or cafeteria, may be convenient, but your data and actual device can be both wirelessly and physically stolen.

Another one involves the fact that laptop users are mobile and therefore are using their laptops in a wide variety of locations. This means that laptop users are likely using a variety of Wi-Fi networks which may or may not have adequate security. When a law firm has desktop computers in the office that run on a wired, rather than a wireless network, certain security risks that exploit Wi-Fi can be avoided entirely.

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