Student Laptops

Laptop Requirement

The School of Law has joined other leading law schools in implementing a student laptop computer requirement for first-year J.D. students. Use of computers has become essential to research, classroom and clinical work. Furthermore, by requiring the purchase of a computer, we are able to include the cost in your financial aid package.

Guidelines for Student Laptops

Please refer to the chart below for minimum specifications and recommendations for your laptop computer.

Operating System

Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10

10.9 "Mavericks,"
10.10 "Yosemite," or
10.11 "El Capitan"


4GB of RAM or more
(8GB STRONGLY recommended when purchasing a new computer)

Hard Drive/SSD


DVD Drive

Many popular notebook/ultrabook models no longer include a built-in DVD drive. However, there may be times when you will need access to a DVD drive to install software (such as Microsoft Office). You might consider purchasing an external USB DVD drive if one is not built into the model that you select.

Screen Size

Most users find that a screen smaller than 13” is of limited use for online research and document composition.


802.11G or higher
(802.11N or 802.11AC are backwards compatible with 802.11G)


Optional. Wi-Fi is available throughout the building and elsewhere on campus.


Frequent backup is essential.  You may use an external USB hard drive, thumb drive, or cloud backup service (CrashPlan, Carbonite, Mozy, etc.). Whatever your choice, backup often!

Office Suite*

Microsoft Office 2010* or newer.

Microsoft Office 2011* or newer.


Any free or commercial anti-virus application which is suitable for the notebook. This is a requirement of the campus network policy which will not be waived for any reason.


A warranty with next-day, onsite repair is highly recommended. Lesser warranties typically require mail-to-depot repairs lasting 2 or more weeks before the unit is returned to the user.

*Microsoft Office and Symantec Ant-Virus (Endpoint Protection) may be purchased through the campus Software Licensing Office.

You may choose to use an existing laptop rather than purchasing a new computer.  However, support for older versions of the Windows or Macintosh operating systems is withdrawn when circumstances require it. Operating systems older than Windows 7 or Mac Lion(10.7) are therefore not recommended. Also, consider the length of your remaining warranty and where/how fast you will receive repairs for older computers; only a limited number of notebooks are available from the Information Technology Office for short-term loan to students.

Tablets and Other Mobile Technologies

A tablet such as an iPad is not a satisfactory alternative to a fully-featured laptop/notebook computer.

  • Electronic exams may not be taken on Chromebooks, Linux systems, tablets, or mobile devices
  • Legal research websites are not fully supported on tablets or mobile devices
  • Tablets do not provide sufficient word processing capabilities for efficient composition of complex legal documents

Tablets and mobile devices can be useful and convenient for tasks such as note taking, email, and web access. However, if you plan to bring a tablet or other device, you must treat it as a companion to, not a replacement for, a traditional laptop computer (Windows or Mac).

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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Copyright © 2015, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved