Laptop Requirement and Financial Aid

As a Scalia Law School student, you will make heavy use of computing resources including word processing, online legal research, and email. Scalia Law has a mandatory laptop requirement for all incoming students. Many incoming law students may already own a laptop that meets this requirement, so this educational expense is not included in the standard Cost of Attendance (COA) for financial aid purposes. However, entering law students who need to purchase a laptop to meet the law school’s program requirement may add the expenses of a new laptop computer, up to a maximum of $1,500, to the COA. In order to qualify, you must provide a copy of your receipt for purchase along with the COA Adjustment Request form found under the forms section of the Financial Aid website, to your financial aid counselor.

Your financial aid counselor can be reached at glfinaid@gmu.edu or 703-993-2353. If you have already borrowed the maximum amount in a Federal Unsubsidized Loan ($20,500) for the year, the additional cost will need to be borrowed through a Graduate PLUS Loan if you have eligibility. Laptop purchases must be made no later than the end of the first month of class.

Recommended Laptops and Specifications 

The law school and George Mason University fully support both Windows and Apple laptops. We recommend name brands like Dell and Apple because of their excellent performance and extended warranties. There is an Apple Store located near the law school in Market Common Clarendon which provides excellent warranty support and repair.  

Below is a list of minimum and recommended laptop specifications needed to use the law school's software and online meeting platforms. If you have questions about your laptop and other equipment purchases, please contact the law school's Technology Services staff at lawsupport@gmu.edu

Minimum Requirements

Recommended

Mac: OS X 10.14 (Mojave), MacOS Catalina (10.15) Mac: MacOS Catalina (10.15)
Windows: 10 Home  Windows: 10 Professional 
CPU: Intel i5 CPU: Intel i7 or higher
Memory: 8 GB Memory: 16 GB or higher
Hard Drive: 256 GB HDD Hard Drive: 512 GB SSD or higher
Laptop Warranty: one year Laptop Warranty: three years
Camera, microphone, and speakers Camera and headset with built-in microphone
Bandwidth: 25 - 45 Mbps (upload/download) Bandwidth: 50 - 75; visit Speedtest to check your current bandwidth
  Printer - Laser or Inkjet

Online Meeting Tools for Remote Classes

The law school's faculty use Webex, Zoom, and Blackboard Collaborate for remote classes. Below are some resources to help you get started. 

Webex and Zoom Comparison Chart

Zoom — gmu.zoom.us

Webex Meetings — gmu.webex.com

Blackboard — mymasonportal.gmu.edu

Laptop Exams

The law school uses ExamSoft's Examplify which allows students to use a personal laptop to take their exams and is made available free-of-charge. Exam answers are saved over the Internet to a remote server, so your laptop will need to have a working wireless card. Examplify runs on 32-bit and 64-bit Versions of Windows 10. The Mac OS versions supported are OS X 10.13 (High Sierra), OS X 10.14 (Mojave), and MacOS Catalina (10.15). Please note that Windows emulators like Parallels, Virtual PC, or VMware MAY NOT be used with Examplify. The law school's version of Examplify does not support tablets, iPads, or Chromebooks. Surface Pros running Windows 10 are supported.

For more information, visit the ExamSoft website or contact our Technology Services staff at lawsupport@gmu.edu. Before purchasing e-Casebooks, check with your professors to make sure that you will be able to use the e-Casebook (as opposed to print) if they decide to hold an open book exam.

Software

For word processing, we recommend that you use Microsoft Office. The university provides all Mason students with access to Microsoft Office 365 at no cost through Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise.  Currently enrolled students can download Office 365 from their MasonLive email account and install the program on up to five computers and five mobile devices. The software is free as long as you are a current student. The university's Barnes and Noble Bookstore also provides discounts on software through their thinkEDU website

We also strongly recommend that you use virus-protection software on your computer, particularly if you are a Windows user. See The Best Free Antivirus Protection for 2020 from PC Magazine for recommendations. For Mac users, PC Magazine has published this article: The Best Mac Antivirus Protection for 2020. The University's IT department recommends the following anti-virus software for personal computers: WindowsAvastAVGSophosMicrosoft Defender AntivirusMacAvastAVGSophos.

Email and Listservs

Mason will provide you with a free email account (Masonlive) that you will be able to activate once you are registered. Your account is hosted by Microsoft on its Office 365 platform. Mason also provides a very effective and free anti-spam service that filters spam on Mason email accounts. Before orientation, you will be automatically subscribed to one of the law school’s student listservs. The listservs are one of the most important vehicles for communication within the law school, so you will need to check your Mason email regularly.

Online Legal Research Databases and Study Aids

Before Orientation, you will receive passwords to Lexis Advance, Westlaw Edge, Bloomberg Law, and West Academic Study Aids. You will be provided training in all of these online systems as part of the LRWA program. The LRWA program and many of our professors use Westlaw’s TWEN to distribute assignments and other course information, so you will also be introduced to TWEN during orientation.

Wireless Network

The law school has a wireless network that covers the entire building. Students use their Mason Patriot Pass accounts to login. For more information, see Wireless Networking at the Law School.

Computer Lab

The Law Library provides a computing lab for law students with a total of 8 computers, including 5 Windows PCs and 3 iMacs. For more information, see the Lab FAQ. In order to maintain safety and ensure proper social distancing during the fall semester, the lab will be limited to one student at a time.

Security

Do not leave your laptops or other personal belonging unattended at any time while on the Arlington campus.

Contacts

For questions or more information on the school's technology resources, please contact the law school's Technology Services staff at 703-993-4855 or lawsupport@gmu.edu.