I'm thinking Dell 600m (thin and light) or Dell 8600 (15'' screen is a plus). Both are pretty light weight (less than 8 pounds) but I don't know if the 8600 is too big to have in class.
I am waiting for the annual report from IBM to come out next month and then buy a computer for law school. I would definitely go for 1GB of RAM and a slightly bigger harddrive.
Personally, I would recommend getting an Apple (but that's just me since I have a 12'' Powerbook). However, you might run into problems with that since most Law School Programs run only with Windows. For example, NYU requires students to only have a Windows machine. Luckily, Berkeley, in general, adores Apple computers Anyway, on to my suggestion. I would recommend getting an IBM thinkpad. Yes, they are very pricey--especially when you compare them to other laptops that are cheaper with much better specs. I like the thinkpad because it's small and very sturdy! IBM is also quite reliable when it comes to customer support. If you don't plan on using your laptop for gaming or for photo manipulation, however, the lower specs found on an IBM thinkpad are fine. IBM thinkpads do come with higher specs, of course, but they are so much more expensive.I've had a compaq laptop for most of my years in college--> this stupid laptop would ultimately push me over the edge! So, I then bought an Apple Powerbook. Compaq's reliability has gone down hill. And like the previous poster said, I'm sure HP will follow Compaq's path after the merger. Dell is still relatively better than most other brands. It's not as good or reliable as it once was, but it's not as bad as Compaq! Gateway has also gone down hill. Toshiba is also a nice brand, however, they're making their laptops bigger and bigger and BIGGER. I wonder why the weird trend? I would not recommend getting a Gateway at all! Very poor customer support--at least according to epinions.com and Cnet reviews. Sonys are sleek and affordable. However, I question this customer support and the reliability of their products. That's just my 2 cents, I'm at work with nothing to do...so sorry for the long long long post.
The other thing you might want to make sure you have is a wireless adapter. If it doesn't come with wireless, then at least get a wireless card. Make sure it isn't bluetooth as bluetooth is pretty much useless.Also, you might want to find out what the school you are going to recommends. DU requires a laptop. Looking at the specs of what they require, it seems a little bit much for me, but that could be because I am an IT geek and most of what they require seems like fluff.
As for the min requirements at several schools I looked at - they are a joke. I've just finished an MS degree and used my 2 year old laptop for all of it. I figure if I can run Oracle on it, I can definately so anything required at a law school. I even lost a chip of memory and am down to 256k and it still is working. Of course, I don't game on it and now that I am done with school Oracle is coming off Unless you are a serious gamer or plan to do some programming or graphics on the side, I agree that you don't need much. 512k of memory would be best, CPU-wise anything 1.2 or so would do (and probably less than that). Also - check to see if your school has wireless, if so use it. Then you don't have to carry a cable around!Of course, I am biased because with the expensive of law school, my old faithful laptop is going to have to do until it goes belly up .
reformat and reinstall the OS and apps jgruber. It'll likely be good as new!