Laptop Recommendations

The school of law information technology staff recommend incoming students (and returning) consider the following when purchasing a laptop for law school.

Computer Hardware

  • Form = Laptop with full Operating System (OS)
    • While tablets can be helpful, they cannot replace the need for a dedicated laptop.
    • Tablets cannot be used with Exam software
  • CPU = Intel i5 or i7 (or equivalent)
  • RAM = 8 GB minimum, 16 GB recommended
    • More RAM = better performance and more programs can be run at once
  • Drive = 128 GB minimum, 320 GB or more recommended
    • Solid State Drive faster and preferred, but more costly than Hard Disk Drive
    • The more content you store in the cloud, the less space on your computer you will need
  • Operating System: users are advised to have the latest version OS possible when they are 1L students, and keep the OS up-to-date; minimum supported software includes:
    • PCs = Windows 10 64-bit English
    • Macs = macOS “Mojave” 10.14
  • Screen Resolution = HD+ 1600 x 900 or higher
  • Web Camera & Microphone
  • Wireless = a/c recommended, g/n minimum
  • Warranty
    • Minimum 3 years
    • On-site next business day service, if available
    • Accidental damage coverage, if available

Accessories

  • Required Adapters
    • Video Output = HDMI & VGA
      • Classrooms use HDMI input
      • Some projectors and TVs use VGA inputs
      • Most laptops do not have built-in connections anymore; buy the HDMI / VGA adapters for your laptop and keep them with your charger!
    • USB-A Adapter
      • Many new laptops may only come with USB-C; if you want to use a flash drive for use with other computers / printers / etc, you will need an adapter if your computer does not have a USB-A port.
  • Optional Adapters
    • Ethernet
      • Wireless persists through the building, but you may see faster performance and better consistency with a wired vs. wireless connection.
  • Required Hardware
    • External Drive
      • Use for backups! Many students have been able to endure through a computer crash because they set up regular backups on their machine.
      • Get an external drive at least as big as your computer drive size.
  • Optional Hardware
    • External Mouse – may be helpful for long sessions with a computer, come in wired and wireless options
    • Optical Drive (CD/DVD+/-RW) – rarely used, but some content may only come on CDs or DVDs. You can use a lab computer if you do not have this capability.
    • Ethernet adapter - allows you to bypass the wireless network and use a more consistent wired network connection
    •  

Software

Microsoft Office 365 is available to any current student of UM and can be installed on up to five devices at once. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. The access to Office 365 can be found through your student email, which can be found at the following page.

http://my.umt.edu/students

Adobe Acrobat Professional can be very useful in its ability to read, highlight, and annotate reference materials. Currently students can get Adobe Acrobat Professional as a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, discounted for students.

https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/buy/students.html

LawIT no longer supports Corel WordPerfect, and instead encourages users to transition to Microsoft Office Word.

Anti-Virus

The use of anti-virus protection software is strongly encouraged! Windows 10 has built-in anti-virus protection called Microsoft Defender, though a third party suite can be purchased and used instead. MacOS does not come with built-in anti-virus, and a third party purchase is encouraged.

Information

The following information may be useful as you shop for and prepare your computer for law school.

Personal Computer Support

The school of law, and LawIT specifically, may be able to help with minor laptop computer problems as time allows. However, in most circumstances we are not able to devote time and resources to individual configurations or repairs of personal machines. Students may be able to obtain limited help with personal computer repairs from the SAIT help desk (UC first floor) or the Central IT help desk (SS 120). In addition, LawIT carries a list of commercial services in town who perform various computer repairs.

HDMI Video Output

You may need to do classroom presentations from your laptop. Make sure you have the adapters required to connect to the classroom A/V systems. This also applies to instances such as clinic clients or presentations as a part of student groups.

Tablets

While tablets can be useful tools in law school, a tablet OS may not be sufficient to meet your law school computing needs. If you want the convenience of a tablet, look into a line that runs a full version of Microsoft Windows 10 and has a dedicated hardware keyboard.

ExamSoft

ExamSoft is the maker of Examplify, our secure examination software. Courses will use ExamSoft Examplify to administer finals and midterms. The following page contains information on minimum system requirements for Examplify.

https://examsoft.force.com/emcommunity/s/article/Examplify-Minimum-System-Requirements