Student Laptop Recommendations
The Law School is a very laptop friendly place with a wireless network throughout. Law students are expected to have a laptop and may use them to take exams and to participate in the first year Legal Research Workshop.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your laptop.
Hardware recommendations and estimated costs are in the University’s Notebook Purchasing Guide. Also, see the Required Laptop Specifications for running SofTest, our exam software. NOTE: Not all Ultrabooks meet the SofTest minimum system requirements.
The University supports Windows and Mac systems, and both can be used for printing and taking exams at the Law School. If you are considering purchasing a new laptop for law school, you may want to keep in mind that many government and private legal employers use Windows systems exclusively. Some students have reported difficulties learning to use those systems for the first time in their summer or full-time jobs. Also, avoid the “Home”, “Home Premium” or “Starter” editions of Windows - they do not work with network printing. The central Penn site has more detailed recommendations.
It’s worth paying extra for the warranty
Your laptop will be an important tool for you over the next three years at the Law School. We recommend a warranty that includes next business-day and on-site servicing.
Remember the extras!
Certain “accessories” have became necessities…
- A USB key gives you a way to backup and easily transfer files.
- A laptop lock provides some security from theft (though you should not ever leave your laptop or other valuables unattended).
- CompuTrace allows your laptop to be tracked if it is ever stolen (like “LoJack” for cars).
- Apple’s iCloud also offers a service that allows you to locate, track, and/or remotely delete your lost Apple devices.
- An extra laptop battery is important since some seminar rooms do not have outlets.
Microsoft Office, Symantec Endpoint Protection, and Other Software
Students currently enrolled at Penn can download and install Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus free of charge. Students will be allowed to install Office on up to five systems or devices. Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote for both Mac and PC.
Please check out the My New Computer section on Campus Express (PennKey login required) for information on how to download and install this software. Be sure to follow the instructions on Campus Express carefully as you will need to use your firstname.lastname@example.org and your PennKey password to download ProPlus.
Symantec Endpoint Protection is also available free of charge to all current Penn students for their personal computers. Symantec checks hard drives, removable media, and email attachments for known computer viruses and removes any that it finds. It also monitor yours computer and notifies you of any infection attempts. More information and a link to download is available on Penn’s Symantec page.
Please also review this list of the University’s recommended and support computing products.
Where to Buy?
Back to School Sale
There are discounted packages available for incoming students each summer. You can place your order in June: first you’ll receive your PennKey Setup Code in the mail, then you’ll make your PennKey which you need to access the Penn Campus Express web site. You can pick up your system right on campus the week before classes.
Also, Dell and Apple laptops can be purchased at the Penn Computer Connection (requires PennKey).