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Computer Requirement

Is owning a computer required? How much will I need one?

Owning a computer and printer is not required by the Law School but is strongly recommended. A computer is an invaluable writing and note-taking tool. Most Law School writing assignments implicitly require close, careful, and repeated drafting and redrafting, and the editing power of the PC is a significant help. Much legal research is conducted online using services such as Westlaw and Lexis. Course documents are distributed through the Campus BlackBoard Web Site requiring students to view and print course material online. In addition, information about what is going on in the Law School is delivered electronically, and the student body makes extensive use of email as a means of communication.

What are my other options for using a computer if I choose not to buy one?

The Law School has a state of the art computer lab with desktop PCs and printers.  However, the number of PCs is limited and printing capacity sometimes creates a bottleneck. We cannot guarantee that a computer will be available at the exact time that you want or need one, so it is not recommended that you rely on the computing center to meet all of your computing and printing needs.

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Should I have a laptop or desktop?

Our recommendation is that you acquire a laptop. The majority of the Law School’s exams are offered on computers, and a laptop will be necessary to take advantage of this. Also, a laptop will be more convenient for use in the variety of contexts available in the Law School. Because the Law School uses wireless network technology, a properly equipped laptop will also make the internet a mobile resource for you.

I want to buy my own computer. What do you recommend?

When purchasing a computer for your own use, you should consider your personal preferences, affordability, life expectancy, and available options.   

The following section summarizes those considerations:   

Any system bought from a mainstream manufacturer must work in the Cornell environment. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, but a system that meets or exceeds the targets outlined should serve your needs for at least three years. Systems at the bottom of the product line are often available at considerable savings, but will have a shorter lifespan. 

The Law School does not recommend any particular make, model or source for your purchase. Laptops from Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, and Apple are good options, and can be purchased via the internet, mail order, or in retail outlets. PC WORLD and CNET are good resources for comparison information. Also, do not forget to consider the Cornell Store for your purchase.     

The Law School does provide some access to printing. However, we recommend that you buy your own printer. Inkjet and laser printers in the $100-$500 range are widely available from Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Epson, and others. Owning a printer will help you avoid the anxiety of approaching deadlines. If you decide to purchase a laptop, a wireless card will provide you with access to the internet. If your laptop is already equipped with a wireless card, you should be able to access Cornell's RedRover wireless system. RedRover supports the 802.11g protocol in the Law School. If you plan to use student loan funds allocated through our financial aid office to pay for a computer, you should not make the purchase prior to August 1.  

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For word processing and electronic exams; what do you recommend?

The primary word processing packages in use in the legal world are WordPerfect and Microsoft Word.  The exam software used by the Cornell Law School is the Extegrity Exam4 software package. 

Make sure and review the Cornell Information Technologies website for more information about computing  at Cornell.

If you wish to type your exams on your laptop rather than write them by hand, your computer must meet the minimum requirements noted below.  

Minimum Laptop Extegrity Exam4 System Requirements:

Exam4 requires a laptop or desktop computer with:

  • Microsoft Windows™ current operating system; Apple Macintosh™ OS X current version.
  • 10 MB free hard disk space (a very small amount).
  • Network connection and/or working USB port (as required by your institution).
  • Minimum 800x600 screen resolution.
  • Virtual operating systems are not supported. 
  • Wi-Fi certified 802.11 G wireless network card needed to connect to the Internet at the Law School

(Please review the above Extegrity Exam4 web site before purchasing a computer as requirements may change)

What computing facilities exist at the Law School?

Public computing facilities at the Law School consist of about forty-five high-end Dell computers running the Windows operating system. We also have several other machines located throughout the building. The Student Computing Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on a first-come, first-served basis.  Access is provided by a Cornell ID card reader system installed on the front door. Computer support related to computers in the center lab is available during regular business hours 8:00am-4:30pm Monday through Thursday, and 8:00am–3:30pm on Friday. Student consultants provide limited support in the center during normal Library hours on weekends.   

Computers in the public facilities are attached to the Law School's local area network, which are in turn connected to the internet. Various software services are offered through the network, including access to WESTLAW and LEXIS, word processing, various legal-instruction programs, electronic mail that reaches the internet, and a wide variety of other programs.   

Access to the Law School's network is also available to students with laptops through RedRover wireless connections in the Library, Atrium, and Student Lounge.

Please read CIT's billing structure for the use of RedRover wireless and other CIT services.

Three high-speed laser printers are available for use by all Law School students. Each Law School student is given a free printing allocation of 500 pages per semester. Students who print over 500 pages are charged at a rate of 10 cents per page for each additional sheet printed. The Computing Center also has a resume printer available for students to use; this service is free.   

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Can I access the network resources of the Law School from home?

Students living off campus will want to contract with an internet service provider (ISP) for access.  Current  ISP costs vary by technology and vendor.  Ithaca also has RoadRunner high-speed cable access through Time Warner Cable. Students using an ISP will be able to access certain Law School resources as well as email and websites. For more information regarding pricing and CIT services, please contact the CIT helpdesk at (607) 255-5500.   

Can I get discounts on software and hardware through Cornell?

Computer hardware is available at the Cornell Store. You can review the selections online; click on the Law School link. Software is also available through the Campus Store, often at substantial discounts made possible through site-volume educational licensing. 

What about email?

Law students are given a Cornell University NetID that doubles as an email address. The NetID is issued by the University and will be provided to new students, along with activation instructions, before orientation.

How do I learn to use the Law School Network?

The best way to learn more about the university system is to go to the Cornell Information Technologies website.

Getting in touch.

We hope that the above has been of some help to you. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to call or stop by and see us in the fall!

Contact Us:
481 Myron Taylor Hall
Phone: (607) 255-2829
Email: helpdesk@lawschool.cornell.edu

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