Lawyers increasingly rely on computing power to perform tasks. Things like discovery, legal research, case management, client communication, document management, and filing, and more have been made more efficient through software availability and internet access.
Law firms typically use a combination of laptops and desktops to complete daily tasks; Desktops are often used in-office, and laptops offer the flexibility of use both inside and outside of the office - a feature desired by lawyers who sometimes work remotely or require computing functions while meeting with clients outside of the office. With many different types of laptops and desktops, however, the question is regularly asked, “Which desktops or laptops should I buy for my law firm?” It can be easy for a tech purchase such as this to feel overwhelming; After all, depending on the size of the law firm, computer purchasing costs can add up quickly.
Below, we’ll take a look at the critical factors to consider when purchasing desktops and laptops for a law firm - hopefully making the process much easier.
Whether you’re considering desktop or laptop purchasing options, screen size is something you’ll need to consider. Lawyers often conduct multiple tasks at once on their computers - having the right screen size can make processes much more manageable. It’s recommended that laptop screens are within 12.5 to 14 inches for optimal usability. For desktops, 24” is typically considered an industry norm.
Laptops are built explicitly for portability. The last thing any lawyer wants to deal with is a bulky or heavy laptop. By keeping laptop weight three pounds or under, portability can be maximized.
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing desktops or laptops for law firms is computing speed. As previously mentioned, lawyers multitask throughout the day; Having a computer that can keep up is incredibly important. There are three main elements that law firms should specifically consider when purchasing computers:
- RAM - Random Access Memory, or RAM, figures a great deal into the speed of a computer. When a computer has a higher amount of RAM, it’s capable of running and storing more programs at once. These days, 8 GB of RAM usually suffices - but the more, the better.
- Hard Drive - All software and data are run and stored through a computer’s hard drive. When selecting new computers, a choice will need to be made between the two different types of hard drives: hard disc drive (HDD) and solid slate drive (SSD). While HDD’s are the older form of disc drive, they are still generally reliable. That being said, SSD’s are often the better choice to maximize computer speed and usability. SSD’s offer quicker computer start times and are less apt to fail due to damage.
- Processor - The Central Processing Unit, or CPU, of a computer directly affects the amount and speed of data handling. While there are many different types of CPUs, the two main types presented in most computers these days are AMD and Intel. While both are considered optimal for computing, the primary consideration taken when choosing is the version. While it’s not necessary to have the latest CPU in-office computers, it’s vital to select within the most recent 1-3 generations.
Computer purchasing for law firms can get pricey relatively quickly, especially for larger firms. While the price of a computer doesn’t directly impact its usability, it’s probably a good idea to remain within specific price points to have a better chance at quality and durability with selection. TheLawyerist.Com recommends laptop minimum costs stay around $1,000, and desktop costs (not including the monitor) remain around $750 or more.
Warranties are not required but can be helpful. Due to the likelihood of being used out of office, purchasing laptop warranties to protect against accidental damage is usually recommended. Desktop warranties are less popular and needed; however, they can come in handy in the long-term if an electrical component was to fail.
Desktop as a service, or DaaS, is an option being considered more often within the business and legal fields because it can save money and headaches. Mainly, all data, storage, upgrades, security, and backup is handled through a third-party provider. This can benefit law firms in several ways:
- Costs are more streamlined and predictable with the elimination of regular computer upgrades and the handling of computer operations through a DaaS provider.
- DaaS offers enhanced mobility options for users since all that is required is a login to access the virtual desktop. Almost any computer can be used.
- Security is often better through the use of a DaaS because the network is continuously monitored by the provider and managed through secure servers.
- The need for dedicated IT assistance is reduced through the use of DaaS. DaaS offers its own IT management and support for companies to access and use as needed.
- Amazon.com: Dell Inspiron 13 2-in-1 7386-13.3" FHD Touch - i5-8265U - 8GB - 256GB SSD - Silver: Electronics
- Amazon.com: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 (Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB) - Platinum: Electronics
- Amazon.com: Dell Inspiron 3470 Desktop, 2 Year Onsite Warranty, Windows 10 Pro, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9400 6-Core 4.1GHz Proc w/Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 12GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM, 1TB HDD+128Gb SATA SSD, DVD RW: Electronics
- Amazon.com: HP 4NN56AA#ABA Pavilion 24-Inch All-in-One Computer, Intel Core i5-9400T, 12 GB RAM, 512 GB Solid State Drive, Windows 10 (24-Xa0032, Black): Electronics
Purchasing computers for use within a law firm can feel daunting due to the number of choices and costs. But, through careful consideration of the factors mentioned above, law firms can feel more confident in their computer purchasing decisions.