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Laptop Purchasing Advice

                               Updated  February 2015

Buy for 3 years OF use
You may be tempted to buy the cheapest laptop you can find; however, be aware that over the life of the laptop, this seeming price advantage could easily be offset and exceeded by wasted time, money, and inconvenience spent on repairs.

The configuration below does not necessarily reflect the current configurations available to be purchased from a retailer; use it as a guide to help you purchase a good laptop that will adequately serve your law school needs for the next three years with as few problems as possible. 

Purchase adequate warranty coverage
Laptop repairs tend to be very expensive.  We urge you to purchase a 3-year service contract to last you through your law school tenure, preferably complete care with screen replacement.  Think about how long you can afford to be without your laptop during the semester or during exams. Also find out where you can get the laptop fixed and what the turn-around time is for warranty repairs. For instance, do you need to mail it back to the manufacturer or can it be serviced locally in Ann Arbor.

The UM Computer Showcase Computer Support and Repair Service has information on available computer repair services on campus.

Shop around
Please note: there is no obligation to purchase hardware/software from the UM Computer Showcase; links to products are provided simply as a courtesy.

Check out prices both online and in stores for laptop deals. Be sure to include the UM Computer Showcase in your search, as it offers attractive laptop prices for registered students. Showcase discounts are available to incoming law students in May and August. When you contact the store be certain to tell them you are an admitted law student.

To fully use the Law School's network resources, we strongly recommend that your computer have either Windows 7 or higher, or Mac OSX 10.6.8 or higher operating systems.

In case you need to upgrade your operating system to one of those recommended by the Law School, the Showcase offers software at deeply discounted prices for enrolled students, including:  

Before finalizing your laptop order, calculate the cost of buying your laptop with the operating system and Microsoft Office installed by the manufacturer versus purchasing these software packages separately through the Showcase and installing them on your own. If you can save some money and you feel comfortable installing your own operating system and/or productivity software, you may want to consider this option.

Recommended Laptop Configuration
[Use as a Guide]

OS X 10.10 Yosemite is compatible with all of the services at the Law School.  There have been numerous reports, however, of some Mac users experiencing problems with connecting or staying connected to wireless networks more generally.  To avoid these kinds of problems, LawIT still recommends that you avoid upgrading to Yosemite, if you have a choice.


Features Windows MAC  1
Operating System

Windows 7 - 8.1
(Windows 8 RT has not been tested at the Law School)

Mac OSX 10.6.8 - 10.10.x  

(computer speed)
Dual-core or higher
4 GB
Hard Drive
(storage space)
Min 128 GB
Removable Storage USB Flash drive  2
IEEE 802.11 a/g/n
Virus Protection Visit the University's Safe Computing site for product recommendations and download information
Warranty 3 3-yr labor & parts (complete care)
Printer 4 Laserjet or Inkjet


1 Students considering eventually joining one of the student law journals should be advised that a Windows-based laptop will be more compatible with the software and processes used by the Journals.


2 A 4GB flash drive is recommended for backing up your important data.

3 The Computer Showcase Support and Repair Service provides full warranty and out-of-warranty hardware and software repairs on Apple, Dell and HP computers. See their repair page for information about other computer brands.

4 If you print often, we recommend that you have a personal printer to supplement the Law School printers.


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