Every Lawyer Should Use a Mac


Every lawyer can thank technology for being a great friend and for making the portable law office a realistic possibility. If you use technology correctly, you can make your law practice more efficient, and make your life easier. In pursuit of that, I believe every lawyer should use a Mac.

Your computer will not crash as often

You can say whatever you want, but Macs are less prone to virus issues. For one, there are fewer Macs, so hackers design fewer viruses to attack them. Two, the operating system makes Macs less prone to attacks. It should be noted, however, that many federal districts require users to run anti-virus software, including Mac users.

From what I have seen from the latest Windows, it appears to be more secure. But if you find yourself annoyed at virus attacks, or even just waiting for virus scans to check your computer every morning, then consider the switch.

I have been using Macs for probably fifteen years. I cannot remember ever getting shut-down by a virus.

You can usually get in person support the same day

I have had my issues with the Genius Bar in the past. It appears, however, that the geniuses are much better with computers then iPhones. Nearly every time I have taken in a laptop, the issue is fixed the same day.

You can make an appointment online, or you can just show up. For lawyers, who tend to ignore deadlines until the day of, this can be critical.

The best part about the Genius Bar? The initial diagnosis is free and most fixes are easy and do not cost you anything. If you do not have the luxury of an IT department, this can be a lifesaver.

Better screens = less squinting

Macs have great screens and yes, you can tell the difference. When you stare at a screen all day like most lawyers, you will be thankful.

Macs are worth the extra money

Yes, you will pay more for a Mac. But you are paying for something that looks better, works better, and will make life easier for you.


  1. Avatar Fake Name says:

    Really? I know the business world has an unwritten pact to never take Linux seriously on pain of death, but any lawyer outside of a large firm who hasn’t seriously considered Linux running Open Office is just wasting their money and time. There are no significant advantages to using a Mac that you won’t also get with Linux. Contrary to popular belief, they do occasionally crash, and once is more than enough especially considering that most Mac users don’t bother backing up their data due to their supreme overconfidence in their expensive OS.

    We’re professionals. We need to get the best machine for the job and nothing else. Forget the cost and bloat of both Windows and Mac, get something free and secure that will always work so you can spend less time updating your system (Windows) or hardware (Mac) and more time doing your actual work.

  2. Avatar no says:

    I will not support this insanely secretive, closed-source company. I’d rather throw Ubuntu in a PC hard drive — it’s easy to do! — or use Windows 7 with it’s crash-proof operating system and increased availability of open source software. Lots of folks are Apple fans because it’s so brilliantly branded, but I really cannot support it’s locked-down mentality…..

  3. Sam Glover Sam G. says:

    I feel the same way. I can’t use Apple because I don’t want to do things The Apple Way, and they don’t really allow anything else.

    I should also point out that in the year I have worked with Randall, his Macs have had more problems than my Windows PCs. I did have to send my ThinkPad back to Lenovo, but that was because I chucked it across the room by accident, and it suffered some cosmetic damage. It was back in 36 hours. The Genius Bar couldn’t have fixed physical damage to a Macbook Pro that quickly.

    That said, use what you want, as long as it gets the job done. You can get the job done on a Mac as easily on a PC. If one suits you better than the other, go with it. Macs don’t have a clear advantage over anything else, that I can see, but they are perfectly good alternatives. You don’t have to consider them the be-all and end-all of personal computing to prefer them.

  4. Avatar Derek A. says:

    I couldn’t agree more with the previous comments. My experience is that the days of Windows XP virus infestations are mostly a thing of the past. Windows 7 with properly configured antivirus and firewall seems quite secure. Throw in Firefox and sensible browsing/email habits, and most users have very little to worry about.

    I’m not sure you can say the same about Mac-Windows interoperability at this point, and if there’s a compatibility issue between the two, the Mac user is usually going to be the one to suffer. In law school I saved the day several times for classmates who had used their Macs to create powerpoint presentations only to find that they could not open the file on the Windows-based classroom computer because the Mac OS does not use file extensions. Few average users are savvy enough to realize they need to append .ppt to their filenames in order to have it recognized by Windows.

  5. Avatar Randall R. says:

    @ Fake name and “no” – I do not think either one of those are suitable options for your average computer user. What do they do when something breaks? Call their local hacker or neighbor down the street who uses Linux? That is not practical.

    @ Sam – Macs are too pretty to throw across the room.

    @ Derek A – valid point with the file extensions. I think it is more of a Windows problem though (seeing as Macs will read Windows-created files). That said, most Macs will stand up and do the presentation for you if you ask them nicely.

  6. Avatar no says:

    First, just because something’s easy doesn’t make it right. Second, it’s easy! Like, really easy! Granted, I switched back to Windows 7 since it’s so insanely crash/virus proof and wonderful. What should I do when my Windows 7 breaks? The same thing as I would do if I still ran Ubuntu! Google search, GeekSquad, etc. Besides, the Ubuntu forums are incredibly easy to use and supportive — part of its whole democratic spirit and whatnot. With file formats cross functional and the availability of networks to transfer things back and forth, it just makes sense (and, saves money too).

    In comparison to both Windows 7 and Ubuntu, Apple is much more on lock down and I cannot support that. I mean, I hate even using my iPod for the same reason — the inability to do what I want it to do (use mp3s, download music to my computer from the iPod, etc) … the thing is really pretty but its siren song won’t pull me in :)

  7. Not that this is entirely valid, but I never liked how “The Apple Way” included using their cords and special connection ports (more of an ipod issue).

  8. Avatar frozenboricua says:

    I am a lawyer and have been a PC and Windows user for about two decades; but, to be frank, I’ve had it with both. Linux is out of the question. As a lawyer, I do not have the time to search on hacker forums to figure out how to configure, run and fix just about everything. Thus, I am opting for a Macbook Pro 15″ i5 when I replace my not-so-old, slow-as-hell, crash-prone, adware vulnerable, screen-starting-to-fail Toshiba Satellite w/ Windows XP. Thanks for the reassurance, Randall. I will report on my experience using the new Macbook after a few weeks.

  9. Sam Glover Sam G. says:

    Compared to an old Windows XP PC, you are obviously going to be thrilled. But you would be thrilled with anything, at this point. My ThinkPad running Windows 7 is faster, tougher, and more secure than your old laptop, too. (It’s also faster, tougher, and more secure than your new Macbook Pro will be, unless you boost the processor and memory, and about half the price with a better service package.)

  10. It’s not clear to me whether the purpose of this post was just to irritate Sam or start some other warfare. I bought a MacBook Pro when I started my practice because I had always liked Apple computers when I tried them and wanted a computer that was more fun. Apples are not perfect (my macs crash on occasion) but I do find them easier to use (after you get over the small differences in which keys do what) and much easier to find freeware and shareware for. I also find it annoying that Apple changes the size of the external video port every time they make a new laptop but I find very few other problems and haven’t had any of the “Apple Way” concerns that others raise. One probably has to know a little bit more about computers to function with a Mac in a mostly PC world, but not that much more, and certainly not as much as experimenting with Linux would require. I haven’t tried Windows 7 yet, but I have no interest in going back to a PC. Also, lawyers who use practice management software should figure out before buying a Mac what they will switch to or whether they will run Windows on their Mac, because the practice management options for Mac lawyers are much more limited.

    Oh, one other thing. Macs are way cooler than PCs. Or, at least people seem to think they’re cooler. People look at you in a meeting or at a seminar and have this expression like “he’s got a Mac. He must really be on the cutting edge.” Which is true, but not necessarily just because of the Mac.

  11. Sam Glover Sam G. says:

    Randall likes to push my buttons. Also he really is a gigantic Apple fanboy and believes every word. I often catch him gazing at pictures of iPads and sighing wistfully.

  12. Avatar James Miller says:

    I am an equal opportunity OS user. My main computer throughout law school was a 13″ Macbook, my desktop at home dual boots Win7 and Ubuntu, and I have multiple computers running as servers.
    I completely agree with Sam regarding the hardware disparity; you get way more power for fewer dollars if you go the PC route. BUT, you don’t get OS X.
    I used to detest Apple’s operating systems until I did a brief stint with an old G4 MacMini running Tiger. I simply fell in love. At the time I had vastly superior PC hardware yet I spent practically all of my non-gaming computer time on the Mac.
    Why? Because OS X was and is the most efficient, elegant, and functional operating system on the market. There’s a reason why Apple fanboys come across as cultists: they’ve literally seen the light. Going from Apple to a modern Linux distribution doesn’t bother me. Going from Apple to Windows annoys me to no end. It’s the same feeling as leaving your brand-new BMW in the garage and then driving a 1980s Ford Van. If I didn’t have to use Windows for certain software, it would simply be collecting dust.
    I challenge anyone to purchase one of the new Mac computers, learn the software, and use it in real life for 3 months. By use it in real life, I mean do more than just click around, read your e-mail, draft a few documents, and then decide you prefer Windows because the buttons aren’t in the same place. Learn how to really use Expose, be free from Taskbar woes, learn the neat Finder tricks, set up TimeMachine (to never worry about backups again), check out QuickSilver, check out the Mac-only application NoteBook for the best information-organizing-and-outlining program ever made, and then tell me you prefer Windows. Macs hold their retail value quite well; if you still didn’t like it after 3 months, you could sell it for a few hundred less than you paid for it. I think you’ll find out it that it saves you money in the form of time spent per task; not because it’s faster hardware, but because it’s more elegant.
    At least at that point, the person who accepted the challenge would be able to explain ‘why’ they prefer the Windows in more detail.

  13. Avatar Nick says:

    You could also just buy a PC that isn’t crappy. Then it will have a nice screen and it won’t crash. My PC has crashed exactly twice in the year I have owned it, and both were predictable and related to external hardware I was using. And I haven’t had a virus in years and years.

  14. Avatar Randall R. says:

    I knew the Mac haters would jump all over this post, but it is nice to see that other people have had nice experiences with Macs.

    While I certainly appreciate, and to an extent, agree with people’s distaste for Apple’s closed stance, I do not think that is relevant at all to the point of this post.

    Technology can be helpful, and it can be frustrating. Lawyers tend to be stressed out and frustrated on a daily basis. From my experiences with my Mac, it has made things easier, rather then more complicated. Solely based on ease of use and reliability, I think Macs are the way to go.

  15. Avatar William says:

    I could agree more with most of the naysayers. Apple computers are hardware (running the same basic language as Linux). Despite what Apple may have you believe, operating systems are actually separate from the hardware, even though Apple tries their damnedest keep you in the dark on this point. To suggest that any person or even more bizarre, an entire profession, should use a particular computer/operating system is beyond absurd. I can only imagine that you wrote this to rile up a fervor, as I can only assume you are an intelligent and insightful person. ITS A COMPUTER!! Like all computers, it runs applications that you install on it. Windows and Linux systems have two times the options.

    As for a trip to the genius bar, i.e. leave work, stand in line, and wait versus continue being productive, do a couple searches and fix my problem in a matter of minutes. Besides, as was already said, virus are a rarity. The places to get viruses should be visited on a work computer anyway. BTW, Dell, HP, etc. all have hi quality screens available for small upgrades that still keep your purchase under $700 for a super solid computer. Lastly, you forget that almost all legal work resides in two fora, wordprocessors and webbrowsers. Since apple sucks at wordprocessing and Safari is a joke compared to Chrome or FF. I don’t think that the “computer” you buy really matters.

    Next you will tell me that every doctors must run Safari and that all carpenters would be lost without an iPhone. It is articles like this that reiterate the tactics of Apple to become a cult of technology void of choice.

  16. Avatar Michael says:

    Though I don’t own a mac, I don’t have any problem with people choosing macs. They use quality hardware and are easy to use while having better and more varied software than they did in the past. But the reasons listed in this article say nothing. And I thought the local Best Buy sales clerks didn’t know what they were talking about. These reasons are more akin to what I’d expect coming from an unemployed artist from the mac “community” that knows nothing about computers.

  17. Avatar Bobby says:

    I like the answer “No” gave. More and more I’ve been using Ubuntu, and unless you’ve used it, you’re not in a position to criticize it for being complicated or hard to repair. I’ve been impressed by how out of the box simple it is. Ubuntu along with several other Linux distributions such as Opensuse, can be installed on a computer in about an hour, and then they pretty much just work. The problem I have had with using Ubuntu is finding particular software applications that do the same things as particular commercially available Windows compatible software. I have not found Paperport for Linux, for instance. The whole Apple control issue is a big turnoff for me, and it drives me away from Apple’s products. I have not yet used Windows 7. I do not think Microsoft makes bad software, although I imagine it could do a better job if there was more competition, but the monopoly position Microsoft has is my issue with that company. There is an obvious breakdown in the free market system when you go into a store such as Best Buy and see 50 computers all running the same software and you have hardly any choice. The market for smartphones is a much better example of healthy competition with several competing operating systems, and it demonstrates that the operation system business can be competitive.

  18. Avatar Randall R. says:

    @ William – I do not recommend using an iPhone as a hammer, that is what hammers are for. That said, I think carpenters might enjoy the level app on the iPhone, it is quite useful.

  19. Avatar ... says:

    one more thing: the ubuntu thing is not some “hacker” thing that people need to read “hacker forums” to get working. i mean check out their support web site:

    and they also offer live help through instant messenger. all for free! good stuff.

    and yeah, the purpose of the post was “Apple is easy and therefore makes lawyers productive and efficient so then Apple is the way to go.” i just disagree with the premise i guess. maybe it’s all the lessig propaganda wedged into my brain, but as a lawyer i guess i want to be supporting good causes if possible. ubuntu is definitely possible and should be used, because it enables productivity *and* because open-source products ought to be supported on principle.

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