Laptops

7 Best Laptops For Law School: Reviewed & Compared

Being in law school is challenging enough. You don’t need the added pressure of having to choose the right laptop to suit your requirements. With as much software and programs that you need to run during the tenure of school, finding the best laptop for law school can be a challenge.

This article will cover the various programs you might require your laptop to run as well as finding the ideal laptop that meets all of your specifications, including cost and the ability to upgrade as you grow.

Image

Product Name

Processor (CPU)

RAM

Display

Screen Size

Weight

SSD Size

Check Price

ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra Slim Laptop, 13.3”...

8th Gen Intel Corei7-8565U

8GB

1080p HD

13.3”

2.5Lbs.

512GB SSD

Oemgenuine Lenovo ThinkPad T470 Laptop 14”...

Core i5-6300U

16GB

1080p HD

14-inches

3.6Lbs.

256GB SSD

Apple 13' MacBook Air Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM...

Core i5-6300U

8GB

1080p HD

13.3-inches

3Lbs.

128GB SSD

Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series E7470 Ultrabook...

Intel Core 6th Generation i5-6300U

16GB

1080p HD

14-inches

3.13Lbs.

256GB SSD

HP 250 G5 15.6' Anti-Glare HD Premium...

Intel Core i5-6200U

8GB

1080P HD

15.6-inch

4.32Lbs.

500GB SSD

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd Gen) Multimode...

Intel i7-8650U

16GB

1080p QHD

14-inches

3.08Lbs.

1TB SSD

Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5' (Intel Core...

Intel Core i7-8650U

16GB

2k HD

13.5-inches

3.62Lbs.

256GB


Benefits Of Having The Right Laptop For Law School

Let's face it, law school is demanding. You will spend a lot of time doing research, writing briefs, and performing demanding searches. While you don't require a laptop that can keep up with the latest game requirements (though it is a nice break from the studying), you will need a laptop that can perform when needed.

These performance benchmarks come from the CPU, GPU, system RAM, and memory. As long as the laptop is also able to upgrade as your needs change from school to practicing firm, you can invest now in a decent laptop that will last you many years to come.


Requirements and Specifications For Law Students (Buyer’s Guide)

Law school across the country will have various requirements for your personal laptops and computers when storing or accessing the school's records and databases. This will include encryption and other security devices.

Windows Encryption/Security

Windows computers use an encryption chip called Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that uses a long encryption key to protect your system and files. The chip is unlocked with your Windows login, but that is only half of the encryption. This is a security feature that prevents the hard drive from being accessed physically if it were removed and put in another computer.

Most schools will require TPM 1.2 or 2.0 to be installed on your laptop. More information on the TPM and its requirements is found further below.

Operating System

You will also need a modern operating system. Most schools will now also require Windows 10 in the Pro, Enterprise, or Student editions, as this will be the operating system that runs the TPM chip encryption.

If you use a Mac, you will most likely need to ensure you have OSx 10.14 or higher along with 3rd party software like BootCamp or the ability to run a virtual machine.

Processor

Intel and AMD both offer high-end CPUs, and you should look for the newer Intel chipsets Core i5, Core i7, or even Core i9. The AMD equivalents are also a solid choice with the AMD Ryzen and Ryzen 2 chips.

Memory/RAM

Your system memory, or RAM, will also be important. The more cores your CPU has, the higher ability the laptop possesses to run multiple programs at once. However, you will need the RAM to support these multiple program instances.

A minimum should be 8GB. More is better, though, and if you can get a machine that has 16GB or 32GB, then you won't have any issues. If your laptop only has 8GB, try to get a model that can support more at a later time with a RAM upgrade.

Storage

Storing and accessing your files needs to be done securely and quickly. It is recommended that your operating system and important programs are installed on an SSD with an HDD as extra storage or backup.

An SSD (Solid State Drive) is a flash drive with no moving parts. They are faster and more reliable than a Hard Disk Drive (HDD), and you should aim to have at least 256GB in your SDD.

Display

The display resolution will be a matter of preference, really, but full HD 1080p resolution is recommended at a minimum. 4K and touch displays are nice but aren't required for your purposes. This is an excellent opportunity to use a 1080p screen and save a bit of money without sacrificing anything of major importance.

Battery Life

Taking notes during a long lecture, doing research, and performing your student duties will require long hours and a lot of time. This means your laptop needs to be able to perform for long periods. The battery life is a crucial aspect, and anything below 5 hours is going to become a pain, fast.

If you can find an "all day" battery which offers lifespans between 8 and 12 hours, that is even better. However, you can also look for models with less battery life, but that offers a quick-charge option.

Additional Features

Your laptop will need to have the ability to connect to various devices, networks, and resources. You should, at a minimum, have two USB drives (3.0), an HDMI port, and a wireless network card.

Anything beyond these will only go to help you perform at your best, but the minimum requirements will help you just the same.

Portability & Weight

There will also be a lot of back and forth going on in your life over the next few years. Your laptop should hinder or slow you down. A lightweight and portable laptop is always going to be better than a heavy brick that is a pain to pack or carry. Look for a laptop that weighs no more than 6 pounds, if you can help it.

Price & Warranty

As a student, you will also want to find a laptop you can afford. While it may seem ideal to go for the most expensive, this isn't always the best move. Having a cheaper laptop that can be upgraded over time may be a wiser investment. Stay within your budget. You are already in enough debt at the moment.

Since laptops are computers, and they use electricity, things can go wrong from time to time. It is wise to research the various warranties and find the one that gives you the best coverage options for the price.


7 Best Laptops For Law School Reviewed

1. Asus Zenbook 13

ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra Slim Laptop, 13.3”...
  • 13.3 inch wide-view full HD NanoEdge bezel...
  • Intel Core i7-8565u Processor (8M Cache, up...
  • Fast storage and memory featuring 512GB PCIe...
  • Extensive connectivity with HDMI

Our Top Pick

Processor (CPU)

8th Gen Intel Corei7-8565U

RAM

8GB

Display Resolution

1080p HD

Screen Size

13.3”

Weight

2.5Lbs.

SSD Storage Size

512GB SSD

The best laptop for law school, obviously out top pick, is the Asus ZenBook. This 13-inch screen laptop is ultra-thin, lightweight and powerful. It has everything you need without sacrificing security or portability.

At only 2.5 pounds, it is one of the lightest full laptops on the market. You won't have any problems carrying this bad boy around all day. It also boots up in less than 30 seconds, using Windows 10 with TPM 1.2, you are safe and secure with just your login.

You don’t need to worry about running out of space, either. The ultra-fast 512GB SSD will store all of your work and school files and still have enough room left over for you to crush candy and shoot zombies.

The Intel Core i7 has 4-cores and a 4.6GHz (overclocked) speed that will keep up with you and all the programs you need to run, and it won’t quit on you either. With a 14 hour battery life, you will always have the power you need. When the battery does get low, the quick charge will recharge the battery to 60% in less than an hour.

Not only that, but you will also get a 1-year insurance policy on the laptop. On top of the warranty, this policy will protect your investment from spills, drops, cracked screens, and other accidental damage.

Good
  • 30-second boot
  • Lightweight and portable
  • TPM installed
  • Multiple device ports available
Bad
  • Trackpad can jump/skip
  • Keyboard not very responsive

2. Lenovo ThinkPad T470

Oemgenuine Lenovo ThinkPad T470 Laptop 14”...
  • Processor: Intel Dual Core i5-6300U (2.4GHz -...
  • Features: 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD NVMe, WiFi...
  • Display: 14" FHD (1920x1080) IPS; Operating...
  • Warranty: 1 Year Lenovo Warranty \ 1 Year...

Runner Up

Processor (CPU)

Core i5-6300U

RAM

16GB

Display Resolution

1080p HD

Screen Size

14-inches

Weight

3.6Lbs.

SSD Storage Size

256GB SSD

Our runner up, the Lenovo ThinkPad is one of the most capable and complete laptops around. There may be a few of you, though, that will need to upgrade the operating system. The ThinkPad comes with Windows Home Pro, which should be fine and fully capable for most programs and applications.

However, some schools will require Windows 10 Enterprise as a minimum. If this is the case at your law school, you will need to pay to upgrade. This can be done from the laptop itself, and the entire process from purchase to final reboot to finalize installation takes about 30 minutes.

The laptop itself, though, will handle anything you can throw at it. With a 256GB SSD, your files will be secure, safe, and easily managed. The boot time is a little slower than our top pick, but you will still be surfing the Internet and downloading case files in less than 2 minutes.

Where the Lenovo shines, though, is in durability and longevity. The ThinkPad is rugged and can withstand a lot of abuse. It is also near future-proof with every internal part capable of being upgraded as needed.

If you want a laptop that can handle your school and your business, the ThinkPad is the right choice for you.

Good
  • Rugged and durable design
  • Speedy Intel i5 core processor
  • Easy to upgrade hardware
Bad
  • May need to upgrade OS
  • Will likely need external storage options

3. Apple MacBook Air

On Sale Today
Apple 13" MacBook Air Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM...
  • 1.8 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor
  • Intel HD Graphics 6000
  • Fast SSD Storage
  • 8GB memory

Best Apple Laptop For Law Students

Processor (CPU)

Core i5-6300U

RAM

8GB

Display Resolution

1080p HD

Screen Size

13.3-inches

Weight

3Lbs.

SSD Storage Size

128GB SSD

Contrary to popular belief, Apple laptops are a good laptop for law students. The Apple MacBook Air is the best Apple for law students. Just be aware that you will need extra software.

Most of the programs you will use in law school are online, meaning as long as you have the current version of Safari installed, you won’t have a problem accessing the content. However, other installed programs are only designed for Windows PCs.

To run these programs, you will need to run a virtual machine with a Windows install on it. The MacBook Air is also one of the least expensive MacBooks on the market. You will get the recommended specs, but barely. Also, because it is an Apple product, it isn’t easily upgraded. You won’t be able to quickly or cost-effectively add RAM over the 8GB it comes with.

You will also need to pay attention to any assignments that you do on the laptop. Most will require a Windows-based format, and by default, the MacBook doesn't save in MS formats. This isn't a real issue once you get used to it, but it is something to keep in mind.

That being said, the MackBook air is lightweight, fully capable, and fast. It also boasts a 10-hour battery life, a dual-core Intel i5 CPU and can run multiple programs at once without any noticeable lag.

Good
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Long battery life
  • Fast boot time
Bad
  • Not easily upgraded
  • Need a VM for Windows applications

4. Dell Latitude 14 7000 Series

Best Dell Laptop For Law School

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core 6th Generation i5-6300U

RAM

16GB

Display Resolution

1080p HD

Screen Size

14-inches

Weight

3.13Lbs.

SSD Storage Size

256GB SSD

The Dell Latitude series has been at the top of most companies and schools go-to computer lists for years. The 7000 models are among some of the most reviewed, highly purchased, and easily upgradable Dell laptops on the market. That is why this is the best Dell laptop for law school.

Not only do you get a 256GB SSD for storing all your files, but you can easily attach an external drive for added storage without any additional setup on your part. Dell works well with Windows, and most devices have instant updates, driver signatures, and security features built-in with no experience needed on your part.

With the Dell, you can turn it on and get to work. A super fast boot up will have you logged in and typing in less than 2 minutes, and with 16GB of RAM, you can run multiple programs at the same time and not have any lag or flickering.

The one downside here is that the i5 processor isn’t the best on the market anymore. However, it doesn’t cost much or take a lot of practice to upgrade to the i7 or even i9 CPU. The lightweight and easily portable Dell isn’t as rugged as the Lenovo. It is suggested you also purchase a carrying case for the laptop.

Good
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Easily upgraded
  • Plug and Play 1000s of devices
Bad
  • Not the most durable shell

5. HP 250 G5

HP 250 G5 15.6" Anti-Glare HD Premium...
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD; (Seal is opened for...
  • 15.6-Inch Anti-Glare Backlit-LED HD...
  • Intel Core i5-6200U 2.30 GHz (Turbo 2.80 GHz,...
  • Dual Band Wireless-AC 802.11b/g/n/ac (2x2)...

Best Cheap Laptop For Law School (Budget Option)

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i5-6200U

RAM

8GB

Display Resolution

1080P HD

Screen Size

15.6-inch

Weight

4.32Lbs.

SSD Storage Size

500GB SSD

If you are on a stricter budget, the best cheap laptop for law school is a great budget option. The HP G5 offers you everything you have to have with a few surprises for the cost. You won't get the most durable machine on the market, nor will it be the fastest machine available. However, it will provide a decent battery life and great support for all of your programs.

The 500GB hard drive should be more than enough for all of your years studying the law, but if it is not, the UBS ports allow for external storage at any time. You can also upgrade the hard drive if needed, and 1TB or 2TB options are relatively inexpensive. However, with this computer, you have time, and that isn't something that is needed right away.

The Intel Core i5 is a dual-core processor, but it is also the one downside to this laptop. Better suited with an i7 quad core process, the HP G5 does enough, though with multiple programs running, you may notice some lag in processing.

If you can live with that for a few years, you will have a reliable laptop that will last you through your tenure and even into your internships.

Good
  • All basic requirements met
  • Easily upgraded
  • Large hard drive for storage
Bad
  • Needs a protective case for transport
  • Can be slow running multiple programs

6. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd Gen) Multimode...
  • Intel Core i7-8650U Processor (8M Cache, up...
  • 14" Dolby Vision 500 Nits WQHD HDR...
  • Enhanced Security Features include: Touch...
  • Integrated 720p HD Webcam with 360-degree far...

Best ThinkPad For Law Students

Processor (CPU)

Intel i7-8650U

RAM

16GB

Display Resolution

1080p QHD

Screen Size

14-inches

Weight

3.08Lbs.

SSD Storage Size

1TB SSD

Lenovo makes our list again, and for good reason. This rugged, highly durable ThinkPad X1 Yoga is the best ThinkPad for law students. The ultra-high definition widescreen format is run by a 500 nit Dolby graphic interface for the best vision of the screen from any angle.

You also don’t have to worry about upgrading the hard drive any time soon. With 1 terabyte SSD, the X1 is a storage machine with room to spare. The Intel quad-core i7 is also fast enough to run multiple programs, including streaming services without lag.

Top that off with 16GB of Ram, and you have a laptop that will boot up before you get comfortable in your seat. There isn't much this laptop can't do. While it won't turn any heads with its sleek design features, it is a work horse that won't let you down.

There is a single downside here, and that is the battery. With an expected life of at least 8 hours, the actual times will vary, with most users having to plug the battery in for a recharge after 4 hours.

While this is by no means a deterrent, it is something to keep in mind. The lightweight X1 is highly portable, though, and as tough as they come. While it isn't indestructible, it will seem like it. Virtually spill-proof, it will even handle a few accidental drops from time to time without any serious effects (though you shouldn't test this out).

Good
  • Super tough and durable
  • Lightweight and portable
  • No upgrades needed
Bad
  • Battery life could be better

7. Microsoft Surface Book 2

On Sale Today
Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5" (Intel Core...
  • Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U...
  • Memory: 8GB RAM 1866Mhz LPDDR3
  • Storage: 256GB Solid State Drive. Graphics:...
  • Display: 13.5-inch PixelSense Display,...

Best 2 In 1 Laptop For Law School

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i7-8650U

RAM

16GB

Display Resolution

2k HD

Screen Size

13.5-inches

Weight

3.62Lbs.

SSD Storage Size

256GB

If you are looking for a tablet or laptop, the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is arguably the best 2 in 1 laptop for law students. With a 2k touch screen, 4 viewing modes, and enough power to push the most demanding programs, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

The only reason it is last on our list is because it isn’t a technical laptop. The detachable keyboard is a nice touch for a fantastic tablet. However, you will need to do some extra work here. The 256GB SSD is a good start, but as with most others of this size, you will soon look for more space.

The 2-in-1 is also fairly heavy for a tablet. At almost 4 pounds, it isn't the heaviest option around, but most tablets are less than 2 pounds. However, the Surface Pro 2 can be upgraded, unlike a lot of 2-in-1s on the market. In fact, you can get the Pro 2 with a 1TB SSD and even full 4k resolution.

The price will increase dramatically, though, so keep an eye on that price tag when you are adding better specifications. Also, the additional features, such as the Microsoft pen and tablet case aren’t standard and will require an additional purchase. For this reason, we suggest you shop around for the best deal, which may not be a part of a bundle.

Good
  • Powerful and sleek
  • 13 or 15-inch options available
  • Upgradeable storage
Bad
  • Add-ons can get expensive

TPM Chip & Device Encryption For Law School

Most modern laptops and computers come with a TPM chip already installed. While older laptops will need to be upgraded, the older systems may not be capable of using the new type of encryption. This is why, for law students and others, that a new laptop is almost required.

You can find out if your computer (Windows PCs only) has the TPM installed, and if so, you only need to make sure it is enabled and updated. The easiest method to check for the TPM is:

  • Restart your computer and enter BIOS mode.
  • Look for a security or Advanced tab and navigate to it.
  • On this tab, look for Either "TPM Support" or "Security Chip" (sometimes also labeled as TPM Security).
  • Click down to this setting and ensure it is enabled.
  • Save and exit BIOS.

While you can use the run command inside windows (run “tpm.msc"), this will only tell you if it is there and enabled. If the chip is disabled, you will get a warning, which could mean the TPM is disabled or non-existent. However, the BIOS method will both show you the TPM is installed and enabled at the same time.


Essential Law Practice Software

Most law schools will have a variety of law software that you need to purchase, use, or download. While each campus will have different requirements and use various programs, the list is pretty much the same.

Below you can see the most common programs you can expect to use. We have linked to the requirements for each program so you can ensure your new laptop meets these requirements. Note that each model in our list above meets or exceeds these requirements.

While you can use the run command inside windows (run “tpm.msc"), this will only tell you if it is there and enabled. If the chip is disabled, you will get a warning, which could mean the TPM is disabled or non-existent. However, the BIOS method will both show you the TPM is installed and enabled at the same time.


Law School Student Accessories

Aside from the laptop itself, you will need some other accessories. Below is a list of certain things to consider purchasing along with your laptop to get the most use during your time in law school.

  • Laptop Bag
    The Samsonite Classic Multi Gusset Toploader Briefcase gives you enough room for your laptop, binders, and essentials. It has a classic and professional look, too.
  • USB Thumbdrive
    Portable file storage is always great to have. Take your important files with you when you don’t need or want to lug around the laptop. The SanDisk Cruzer 128GB is a great deal with a lot of space.
  • External Hard Drive
    An external drive, like this WD 2TB Elements, is a great way to keep a local back up of all of your important files. It also goes a long way to keeping your laptop drive uncluttered and responding faster.
  • Headphones
    Music, lectures, music during lectures. A good set of headphones, like the OneOdio Over-Ear Headphones, will help you maintain focus or keep your sanity without disturbing others.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Where is the best place to buy these laptops and accessories?

While you can buy a laptop almost anywhere, most brick and mortar stores will add their bloatware to the devices. You will also be limited to stock on hand. For these reasons, the best option is to order through Amazon.

Not only will you get the best deals, coupon savings, and fast shipping, but you have the option to extend your warranty, and Prime members get added benefits.

How much should I spend on a laptop for law school?

The price you should pay is enough to get the laptop you desire at a fair price. There isn’t a magic number for these laptops that makes a good deal turn into a great deal.

Like most modern electronics, the price will vary based on time of year, supply and demand, and if a newer model is already released. You should spend enough to get a laptop that will perform as expected, but no so much you go outside your budget.

Do I need to get insurance for my laptop?

Most laptop purchases will offer a choice of an extended warranty or insurance. The insurance will protect against things the warranty doesn't cover, like spilling a drink on the keyboard or dropping the laptop down a flight of stairs. If you are accident-prone or worried that your dorm mate might be, then insurance is a good idea.

Is a laptop necessary for law students?

In today’s day and age, a laptop is a crucial aspect of the modern lawyer, and therefore a law student needs to be accustomed to using one as well. While a laptop isn’t required to pass the bar exam, it will help you prep for it.

Are Macs or PCs laptops best for law studying students?

Currently, PCs running Windows 10 are still the prevalent business and client marketplace leader. Because your future firm or management team will most likely be using a Windows PC, you should too.

However, software and programming are coming a long way, and Mac computers are not entering a stronger foothold in the business world. Though they are still seen as the artistic computer, using a Mac instead of a PC laptop isn’t going to cost you much of anything.


Conclusion

When it comes to the best laptop for law school, there are a lot of choices. We hope our list has explained everything you need to make an informed and educated decision.

If you are still on the fence about which model you should purchase, we highly recommend the ASUS ZenBook 13. Compact, lightweight, and powerful, this machine will handle anything you can throw at it. If you add in some of the additional purchases mentioned above, the laptop will be a formidable companion during your school term.


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