There is really no "one-size-fits all" solution for considering a computer purchase for Law School, as some students use their computers for applications outside of law school study (ex. multimedia, gaming, music or video applications). The UC Davis School of Law does not require a laptop for entering students, although most students enter law school with a laptop computer.
If you are considering a laptop or desktop for law school, below are some general guidelines to aid in your purchase.
What it does
|Operating System (OS)||The operating system provides the platform upon which all of your programs function, and provides a means by which those programs can interact with your computer's hardware. Some key pieces of software used by our students, such as our electronic testing software, run only on Mac OS and Windows. iOS (used by ipads) and Chrome OS (used by Chromebooks) are not supported.||Current Apple Mac OS or Windows 10|
|Central Processing Unit (CPU)||This is the speed at which the computer operates and is expressed in Gigahertz (GHz). Since most of law school study is text-based processing (Microsoft Word documents for example), it is not necessary to purchase the fastest processor available if cost is a consideration. Processor speed is most noticeable in graphics applications or games. A higher processor speed means the computer will work faster, but if cost is a constraint, then most any processor on a new laptop will be adequate.||Windows:
or Intel Core i series
Intel Core i series
|Random Access Memory (RAM)||This refers to how much memory your computer contains. The amount of RAM you purchase will affect things such how many applications you can open at once, and how efficiently the programs will handle large documents. More RAM is better. Most laptops currently ship with between 4 and 8 Gigabytes (GB) of RAM.||8 GB
|Hard Drive (HD)||The hard drive is the computer's primary storage mechanism. This affects how many programs, documents, pictures, music files, etc. can be stored on the computer.||256 GB
|Networking (MODEM, ethernet, wireless)||You will need some sort of network access. A modem is a device that allows the laptop to connect to the campus and the Internet through a standard phone line. Laptops now come with either or both an ethernet card and a wireless networking card. The ethernet card allows students to connect via wired network jacks at home using either a cable modem or DSL. The wireless networking card allows wireless Internet access in the Law School and other locations on campus. A wireless network card can also be used at home in conjunction with either cable modem or DSL.||A 802.11N wireless card|
|Warranty||A warranty is probably the most essential component of a new computer purchase. A 3-year parts and labor warranty will ensure that your computer is covered throughout your time in King Hall.||3-year parts & labor is highly recommended (an on-site warranty is recommended if funds permit)|
Include backups as a part of your budget consideration. The most comprehensive backup is a full disk backup, which is built in on both PC and Mac via "Windows Backup" and "Time Machine", respectively. To perform a full disk backup, you will need an external hard drive that is equal to or greater in size than your laptop's hard drive. A less expensive alternative is to buy a flash drive and make regular copies of your documents and other critical files to that drive. One free option is to use Box.com as a cloud storage provider, and store your documents and other critical files there. Students get unlimited storage via Box.com shortly after they receive email accounts.
UC Davis Law School does not endorse any specific manufacturer. Discounts are available to students from a number of computer manufacturers.
Apple - This program offers discounts on numerous Apple appliances and software.
TechHub - The UC Davis Bookstore offers a number of discounts on computer hardware, software, and peripherals.
Dell - This program offers 5 - 10% off any Dell system and is available to faculty, staff and students of UC Davis.
If you have any questions with regard to a computer purchase, please contact the Information Technology office.