The University of Colorado Boulder strongly recommends that every student have a personal computer if it is financially feasible. Computers play a central role in helping students access university services and conduct a wide range of academic work. Information technology skill and understanding is a goal for all students.
Law students wishing to have the cost of a new computer (up to $1,600) included in their financial aid calculations should consult one of the law school’s Financial Aid Counselors (303-492-0647) before making a computer purchase. For help in deciding whether to bring a computer to school with you, please see the university’s FAQ page about student computer ownership.
If you wish to take advantage of the university's free technical support for students, please take a look at the basic supported recommendations. As these are the minimum recommendations, we suggest that anyone purchasing a machine getting a little better than this stated minimum. If you can afford to upgrade, please note that increased RAM is a more important factor in computer performance than faster chip speed. It has been our experience that the very small, inexpensive Netbooks (~$300 -$400) are extremely slow, underpowered, and make for a frustrating user experience so we do not recommend these systems.
Windows-based PCs are more common in the practice of law once you graduate. However, in the law school, either Macs or PCs are acceptable. Our exam taking software ExamSoft will run on either a PC or a Mac.
One minor note for Mac users: classrooms and courtrooms are wired for projection using a standard VGA connector. Mac users needing to give computer-based presentations in class will need an adapter to connect the classroom VGA cable to the Mac’s video output port. We do offer a "Mac Presentation Kit" for checkout from either the Dean's Office front desk or the law library front desk.
Get a laptop.
Although back-to-school bargain packages may be available online or at large computer stores, you should check for educational discounts or academic pricing on all hardware and software before making your purchase. The CU Bookstore offers academic pricing for computers and software meeting the above recommendations.
A three year parts and labor warranty is recommended for new computer purchases. CU’s Bookstore offers service on Apple computers. There is no on-campus maintenance and repair facility for other brands of computer.
We have had several computers stolen at Colorado Law and we recommend registering your system with the CU Police Department and putting a registration sticker on your computer. You will have the opportunity to do so during new student orientation. You might consider getting the LoJack computer tracking system as well.
When using your laptop on campus, you may connect to the university’s WiFi network. Most laptops feature built-in wireless networking capabilities. Setup instructions are available.
The law library computer labs feature 38 desktops, 3 fee-based printers, and a scanner. Lab computers are equipped with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. There are no Mac computers in the law library computer labs. These computers and labs are part of CU's Office of Information Technology (OIT) and are not operated by the Law School or Law Library.
Although not required, you may take exams using a laptop that you own, lease, or borrow externally. Please note that lab laptops provided by the university for use in the law library may NOT be used for taking exams. Special exam security software (ExamSoft), provided by the law school, is required in order to take exams using a laptop (Windows or Mac). The Colorado Bar Exam can be taken on a laptop using the same exam software.
Students are responsible for making sure, well in advance of exam time, that any laptop to be used for an exam meets all requirements needed to run the security software. Due to known software conflicts with some other antivirus software, we recommend that you use the university-recommended antivirus software.