Best Laptop for Law School Guide for 2023

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All law schools recommend new law students to either have a new or recently purchased laptop for law school. That said, there are not a whole lot of additional requirements for the best laptop for law school, so we’re going to share the laptops we’ve found to be the most effective for law students in getting their coursework completed as well as user-friendly for when you decide to do things that aren’t law-related, like watching Netflix or using programs for video or photos.

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In a hurry? Here are our top 3 picks:

Mac vs PC for Law School?

Honestly, this is no longer a debate. If you prefer Apple products, go for a Mac. As long as it meets the operating system specifications, your computer will be able to keep up with you throughout your law school experience.

You can find the Mac/PC-specific basic requirements and recommendations, per the Harvard University Information Technology department at requirements section later on in this post.

The 5 Best Laptops for Law School

MacBook Air

  • 8 GB RAM
  • 256 GB Storage
  • 13.6-inch liquid retina display

The Macbook Air is the best laptop for law school overall thanks to its portability, compactness, and excellent features. Weighing only 2.7 pounds, the laptop is so thin that it looks similar to a tablet. At the same time, the screen has a bold retina display with support for a billion colors.

The battery can last for a maximum of 18 hours, giving you exactly what you need during a long day of lectures. If you have Zoom classes, you’ll appreciate the 1080p HD camera and four-speaker surround sound microphone system. There are two external ports in addition to the charging jack, plus a headphone jack.

Best Mac for Law School
2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip 2022 Apple MacBook Air Laptop with M2 chip
4.5
$1,199.00 $1,099.00

Enjoy up to 18 hours of battery life with this MacBook Air with M2 chip.

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01/27/2023 04:48 pm GMT

Related: 4 Best Laptop Backpacks for Law School

MacBook Pro

  • 16 GB RAM
  • 512 GB Storage
  • 13-inch retina display

This is a high-performance computer that’s the best laptop for a law student who enjoys gaming. It also works well with a variety of high-intensity programs that often slow a machine down. There are even advanced cooling systems to ensure that the computer doesn’t overheat.

The retinal display shows brilliant colors. In addition, the battery lasts slightly longer than the Macbook Air, boasting a maximum of 20 hours of use. There is an HD camera and three-microphone surround system. If you need to plug in other devices, the laptop is equipped with two Thunderbolt ports.

Best Mac Splurge for Law School
2022 Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip 2022 Apple MacBook Pro Laptop with M2 chip
5.0
$1,686.95

Try to hang on while using this super powerful updated MacBook Pro configured with the M1 Pro or Mp1 Max chip.

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01/27/2023 04:53 pm GMT

ASUS Vivobook 17

  • 20 GB RAM
  • 512 GB Storage
  • 17.3-inch HD screen

Some law students prefer a Windows PC over a Macbook. This high-performance computer comes with many of the same features as the Macbook Pro, but it’s a fraction of the cost. Though not the most compact computer on the list, the laptop does have a respectable 17.3-inch screen.

The computer can also interface with a variety of other devices through its micro SD card reader, HDMI port, and three USB ports. A combination headphone and microphone jack lets you connect to online meetings. Each computer includes a one year warranty from the manufacturer against defects.

Best PC for Law School
ASUS Vivobook 17 ASUS Vivobook 17
4.5
$669.99

This is among our favorite PCs for law school that won't break the bank.

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01/31/2023 10:09 pm GMT

Related: Is Dating in Law School Possible?

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

  • 32 GB RAM
  • 1 TB Storage
  • 12th Generation i7 Processor

This is definitely the best tablet for law school, with a two-in-one setup that allows it to double as a laptop. With a whopping 32 gigabytes of RAM, it’s the highest-performing machine on our list. The tablet is built to run tons of applications and programs without breaking a sweat.

The system utilizes the Intel Evo platform and has 12th generation high-speed processors. A built-in kickstand lets you adjust the tablet’s angle in class. You can use a tablet pen or your fingers on the touch screen. The included keyboard has storage areas and charging capabilities for your Surface Slim tablet pen, so it’s ideal for diagrams and note-taking.

Best Tablet for Law School
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (2022) Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (2022)
4.5
$2,583.92

A splurge among PCs for law school, the Surface Pro is a great multitasking device.

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01/27/2023 05:03 pm GMT

Related: Stay Organized with Classes with These 5 Best Planners for Law School!

Acer Aspire 5

  • 4 GB RAM
  • 128 GB Storage
  • 11th Generation i3 Processor

We consider this the best computer for law school if you’re operating on a budget. While it lacks some flashy features and high performance capabilities, it’s great for doing homework, accessing meetings, taking notes, and writing essays. The four gigabytes of RAM can easily manage a few windows, and 128 gigabytes of storage go a long way with text files.

In addition, the laptop is outfitted with Turbo Boost Technology. This means that it will prioritize high-intensity applications to keep them running more smoothly. The 15.6-inch display shows crisp HD images. Finally, if you have an Amazon Alexa, you can connect your device to this PC.

Best Budget Laptop for Law School
Acer Aspire 5 Acer Aspire 5
4.0
$299.99

This budget-friendly PC can be yours and packs a powerful Turbo Boost Technology that can keep your high-intensity applications running seamlessly.

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01/31/2023 10:18 pm GMT

Quick Guide to Mac vs PC Requirements

Mac

Operating System

  • Minimum: MacOS Catalina
  • Recommended: MacOS Monterey

Processor

  • Minimum: Intel Core i5 dual-core processor (9th generation)
  • Recommended: Apple M1 or M2 processor

Memory

  • Recommended: 16GB or more

Hard Drive

  • Minimum: 256GB or larger
  • Recommended: 512GB or larger

PC

Operating System

  • Minimum: Windows 10 (Home)
  • Recommended: Windows 10 (Pro, Education, Enterprise)

Processor

  • Minimum: Intel Core i5 dual-core processor (9th Generation)
  • Recommended: Intel Core i5 quad-core processor (12th Generation) 

Memory

  • Recommended: 16GB or more

Hard Drive

  • Minimum: 256GB or larger
  • Recommended: 512GB or larger

Requirements for Law School Laptops

The best laptop for law school is going to be one that can keep up with the requirements of daily law school studies. Without going too deep into the weeds with tech jargon, we’re going to focus on 4 main requirements that you need to be sure your computer meets in order to be effective for the school year:

1. Processor: Intel Core i7 dual-core processor (9th generation)

The processor on your laptop is what gives you the power and speed you need to run software. When it comes to purchasing the best laptop for law school, it’s going to be one that has at least an Intel i7 core processor or the equivalent. The higher the number, the stronger the processing power. This means that an i7 core processor is going to be able to run more applications at once than an i5 core processor.

2. Memory (RAM): 16GB

RAM stands for random access memory, should you care. In a nutshell, RAM is a physical hardware inside your computer that stores data temporarily. What this is going to do for law school is allow you to quickly access documents or files right now at a much faster speed than if the computer had to pull it from your hard drive. 16GB is the minimum RAM recommended for law school.

3. Hard Drive: 256 GB (or 512 GB)

Your hard drive is different from RAM, as RAM is erased after every time you shut down your computer. The hard drive is going to store all your documents for the long-term. 256 GB is enough storage for law school, but may require you to put some of your files on either an external hard drive or in the cloud. If you can afford a 512 GB laptop for law school, then I’d recommend splurging on this to ensure you don’t run out of space.

4. Operating System: Windows 10 Pro or Education / Mac OS Catalina

The above operating systems are required for full compatibility with the enterprise network and software of law school. Essentially, if you are purchasing a newer model of a laptop for law school, there will be these operating software options regardless of if you are getting a Mac or a PC.

Optional – Laptop Accidental Insurance

You should consider purchasing accidental insurance when making your laptop purchase. All of the best laptops for law school in our list come with optional laptop insurance of up to 4 years. The coverage is generally pretty broad and include things like spills on your computer or cracked screens.

You really don’t know how much you want insurance until an accident like this happens. I’ve been able to use the insurance I purchased for a cracked Mac screen and it was free for me to replace the screen through AppleCare.

Additional Resources:

You can check some of the top law school’s requirements on laptops by checking out the following law schools:

Best Laptops for Law School – Bottomline

There is no “wrong” laptop you can purchase, so long as it meets the basic requirements set by the law school you are attending. This guide serves as a general guide to law school requirements, but be sure to also check in with your law school to confirm the specs set forth by the law program. We wish you the best of luck on law school and your new laptop purchase! Feel free to comment below if you found this helpful or have a best laptop for law school that you think should be added to this list!

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