I also just finished my first year at Duquesne. I am happy to provide any insight or advice that I can.
Shadyside is the place where the young professionals hang out. A good number of Duquesne law students live there. The most students live in the southside flats and southside slopes. Southside is a bit more hoppin, but Shadyside is more intimate and comfortable, and it is easier to get a few people together for drinks there, especially if you can walk back to your apartment. The views are prettier in the Southside. Southside is within walking distance of campus. More cute girls in Shadyside, but more Bohemian and artsy types in Soutside.
Shady Grove is a cool bar by the way.
Squirrel Hill has a lot of very expensive family homes, but I dont know why a student would want to rent there; there isnt much to do and the traffic can be pretty bad.
As was stated before, Oakland is Pitt campus. If you are comming from a big school (I came from Ohio State), you might feel comfortable there.
Mt. Washington has some really pretty views, and the commute is pretty quick most of the time.
The Northside has some bad parts of town, but it has the most extreme hills, scenic views, and secluded hillsides of any place within site of downtown, if that is what you are into. I really had a thing for places in the northside, but I do not think many, if any, Duquesne law students live there.
No matter what, don't live in Wilkinsburg.
I lived in the dorms last year... it had some major downsides, but some upsides too. Downsides: 1. expensive; 2. unknown roomate risk; 3. small rooms; 4. difficulty bringing in guests; forced to get a meal plan. Upsides: 1. Countless hot undergrads everywhere; 2. No commute; 3. less distractions from school during the all-important first year; 4. less distractions from school during the all-important first year; 5. less distractions from school during the all-important first year.
I will be living in Shadyside with another Duquesne 2L this comming year... for $250 a month
As for laptops... Duquesne 1L is split up into two sections, A & B. I cant say for sure about section B, but Section A was way more than 50% laptop users, I would estimate 75% - 85%. I suspect that number is the same in Section B, and will be bigger next year. Some rooms have outlets for every student, others do not. Your schedule will probably put you in both types of rooms in any given day, so you will have enough battery charged up to get you through the classes with no outlets. Way more than 30% of students used laptops in the final exam, I would say more than 50%. Mac users kinda got *&^% on this year for exams, I would have complained if I had a Mac. But Macs work fine on the wireless network, which gets a solid signal in all the classrooms and the library.
Do you all know who your professors are yet? Section A last year had Streib, Pelaez, Jordan, Cafardi, Krasik, and I had Hirsch for Crim and Rodes for Writing.
WAxlRose2 on AIM if you have questions