my dad has a 700m, while it's nice, I wouldn't want it for lawschool, but I'm a bit of a laptop geek.
The 700m has a nice screen, good battery life, and is small and light, but I find the keyboard cramped (I'm 6'2" w/big hands).
I own an Inspiron 8200 that's about 4 years old now. It still works, after years of school and work abuse, which is saying something, I think. It's kind of falling apart, but it still works. So Dell, in my mind, makes a decent laptop.
I would check out IBM as well. Even though they are now manufactured by Lenovo, they are supposedly still the bomb-proof workhorses that they used to be.