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How Much Laptop Do You Need for Law School?

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By George Khoury, Esq. on August 17, 2017 7:00 AM

When it comes to choosing the right computer for law school, many prospective and current students often succumb to decision paralysis. After all, lawyers are known for loving their laptops. Luckily, choosing the wrong laptop is easily avoidable.

First and foremost, most law schools will provide some minimal guidance as to the requirements for student computers to work on their networks and be compatible with school specific software. For instance, Duke University School of Law warns students to not even bother bringing a Windows XP computer as these are no longer supported by the university, nor Microsoft.

Are You an Apple or a PC?

It probably won't matter whether you are an Apple person or a PC person. At this point, Apple has actually captured enough of the market share, particularly in the education sector, that most schools' infrastructure will accommodate them.

However, before you choose an Apple for law school, do some research about your school's IT requirements, and IT perks. Most schools offer students free, or discounted, software. However, it may only be PC compatible. Additionally, some test taking software may not be compatible with a Mac, but you may be able to get around that by running Windows on a Mac (yes, this is possible, but can be buggy at times).

Feel free to be an Apple or PC, just don't be a tablet.

Specific Computer Specs

When it comes to the actual specs of a computer, how much computing power do you really need? If you are not gaming on the laptop, or running software that sucks up computing power and resources, you'd likely be fine with the amount of power offered in any Apple computer that is currently offered in their store, or even in their refurbished store.

For PCs, this being the year 2017, you're really going to want, minimally, an Intel Dual Core i5 or higher processor and 4 gigs of RAM, and at least 128 gigs of HardDrive memory, if not a full terabyte. This should allow you enough power to run a couple word docs, while also browsing 20 tabs, and running an email client or other programs, concurrently. Also, sticking to a major brand, such as Dell or Toshiba, is a good idea, as customer service matters, and the larger manufacturers tend to excel in that regard. There's so much to consider in regards to specs, but that should get you started.

Extended Warranty

While normally the extended warranty is a sucker's bet, when it comes to your law school laptop, it's probably worth it just for a little bit of extended peace of mind. Good extended warranty plans, such as those offered by Apple and Dell, will often replace your computer, or at least provide you with a loaner, if something goes wrong.

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