Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: djshack on March 16, 2009, 02:07:07 PM

Title: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: djshack on March 16, 2009, 02:07:07 PM
I'll preface this post by stating the following: I am aware there have been numerous threads on this board and other boards about what laptop one should get for law school (including the Mac vs. PC debate).

I'd like to know, from current law students, some good advice, stories, etc. and law school laptop usage.  I'm currently (and have been for 6 years) a Mac user, with a white MacBook (2.5 years old).  I love Macs, and I'm going to a school that only requires Windows for the exam software (which we can run via Boot Camp).  However, while I do like Macs, I'm a bit skeptical of how my plastic MacBook will hold up physically (already had the infamous cracking case replaced with a new, supposedly stronger one).

If anyone here uses a Mac in law school, can you please tell me about it?  Such as how your MacBook holds up, any compatibility issues you've had, what you use for notetaking (OmniOutliner, etc.)... and also, I'd like to hear about the cheap PC laptop vs. ThinkPad debate (i.e. if a ThinkPad is truly necessary, or if a $700 Dell will cut it with the wear and tear brought on by carrying the computer everywhere).

Thanks!
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: epicac on March 16, 2009, 09:15:32 PM
Lots of people in the class use Macs, but I don't know if it's worth it.  Go to slickdeals.net and keep your eyes peeled for a cheap PC.  You should consider an Asus Eee if you want something very easy to carry, they cost a hell of a lot less than a  Macbook.
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: lawmama09 on March 17, 2009, 05:06:36 AM
About 30-40% of my class uses Macs, with no issues. I have a white MacBook too (also 2.5 years old), and it has been fine. I don't use them for notes in class, but most of my classmates do. I prefer Macs over PCs in general, so I wouldn't consider a PC anyway, but I see plenty of people use them successfully in law school.
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: SASS on March 17, 2009, 06:14:54 AM
Lots of people use mac's at my school. I personally bought a $500 Toshiba and it has been fine but I am  REALLY jealous of my husband's new thinkpad. It is light, small, durable and if I make money this summer, I may get it as a little gift to myself. That is, if I can talk myself out of tossing my perfectly fine Toshiba . . . fingers crossed for blue screen!
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: djshack on March 17, 2009, 08:37:51 AM
Based on what people say, it sounds as though I'll be fine with my trusty MacBook (hoping it survives).  I suppose I can wait a year, until it's over three years old and AppleCare expires, then buy a new aluminum one (love those things).
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: nealric on March 17, 2009, 12:27:20 PM
IMO the cheap laptops probably hold up better than the more expensive ones because they tend to have clunkier/beefier designs. My 2.5 year old dell has withstood a lot of abuse. I know a lot of people who have destroyed macbooks in short order.

I wouldn't recommend a netbook (i.e. EEPC) as your only computer. The keyboards are too small for serious typing unless you have the hands of a 5 yr old.
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: epicac on March 17, 2009, 05:13:32 PM

I wouldn't recommend a netbook (i.e. EEPC) as your only computer. The keyboards are too small for serious typing unless you have the hands of a 5 yr old.

Yeah, that's a good point.
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: willametterules on March 18, 2009, 10:27:41 AM
My MacBook is 4 years old.  I had it gutted by Apple 1 year ago for $200. Other than running hot as hell (charger), no problems. 
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: djshack on March 19, 2009, 09:45:37 AM
Thanks for the info everyone.  I've decided to stay with the Mac (so much nicer).  I heard that approximately 40% of the students at my school use Macs, and the school even offers MS Office for MAC for free (I thought it was just Windows originally).
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: willametterules on March 19, 2009, 10:30:26 AM
Thanks for the info everyone.  I've decided to stay with the Mac (so much nicer).  I heard that approximately 40% of the students at my school use Macs, and the school even offers MS Office for MAC for free (I thought it was just Windows originally).

It is funny because it can be really school specific.  I started law school in the midwest in 2005, exactly one other person in the entering class had a Mac.  Out here on the coast, its about 50-50.  My current school prefers them because of the limited virus concerns and the dangers to the school network.  PC users have to download anti virus programs and have a special log on process, Mac users just jump on the network.
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: nealric on March 19, 2009, 01:08:20 PM
Quote
My current school prefers them because of the limited virus concerns and the dangers to the school network.  PC users have to download anti virus programs and have a special log on process, Mac users just jump on the network.


The school administrators obviously don't pay much attention to articles like these:

http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,39630015,00.htm

Took a hacker a grand total of 10 seconds hack a mac.
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: willametterules on March 19, 2009, 02:47:37 PM
Quote
My current school prefers them because of the limited virus concerns and the dangers to the school network.  PC users have to download anti virus programs and have a special log on process, Mac users just jump on the network.


The school administrators obviously don't pay much attention to articles like these:

http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,39630015,00.htm

Took a hacker a grand total of 10 seconds hack a mac.

Macs aren't the holy grail, but 99% of phishing at our law school server is PC specific when a viral infection is involved.  Of course as Mac use rises, there will be more money/scams to be had and Macs will be attacked on a larger scale.  Eventually the policy will change...
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: js11287 on March 19, 2009, 02:48:47 PM
I don't know if this is still true, but I was doing a little bit of research with this because I love Macs. I think the NY Times wrote about how when taking the bar, and choosing to use a computer, you can only use a PC and not a mac. Is this still the case?
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: chevelle on March 21, 2009, 06:56:52 AM
I have used both in school...I have a Dell XPS m1210 and a 13" MacBook (the black one). I used my Dell all of 1L, and my Mac in class all of 2L, but I always took exams on the Dell because the tech people seemed to know how to quickly resolve any PC issues much better than they did Mac problems.

My Mac was fine my first semester of 3L, but then the first day of this semester, Microsoft Word crashed about 6 times and I lost all my notes. This then started happening to everyone with a Mac. The school says it has something to do with their network, I have no idea. So now I just use my Dell....for the bar (at least, the NY bar), you either need a PC or an Intel Mac with XP or Vista on it, so you might as well get used to the SofTest exam program beforehand.

The bottom line I have discovered is that laptops mostly suck, no matter what brand you buy...law students put a lot of wear and tear on them.
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: Bob Loblaw Esq. on March 25, 2009, 01:43:59 AM
keep the mac if you can
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: Jolie Was Here on March 25, 2009, 05:07:51 AM
I've used my Macs all three years with no major problems. And of course, when minor problems come up, the Mac service sure is nice. Most things can be resolved at the Genius Bar on the spot, but the one time I had to mail my MacBook Pro out, they had it back to me in a little less than 3 days. It was like magic.

I'd say our school is at least 50/50 at this point, and the Macs may even be in the majority by now.
Title: Re: Laptops in Law School: Experience
Post by: djshack on March 25, 2009, 10:40:36 AM
I'm definitely keeping it.  I've been convinced.