Faculty Computing Policy

Northwestern Law Faculty Computer Support Policy

It is the goal of this policy to provide faculty with support for their research and instructional needs. The law school provides computing support in the form of an office computer and a standard set of software packages. Faculty who have special computer hardware and software needs should discuss them with the Associate Dean of Research and Intellectual Life, Paul Gowder.

Primary Office Computer

The Law School provides faculty a choice of three office computer configurations, all of which are fully paid for by the Law School.

Option 1: Dell Optiplex desktop computer, 22-inch flat-screen monitor, Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Pro Suite, and the university security suite.

Option 2: Dell Latitude laptop computer, docking station, 22-inch flat-screen monitor, Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Pro Suite, and the university security suite.

Option 3: Apple MacBook Pro computer, 22-inch flat-screen monitor, Microsoft Office 365, Adobe Pro Suite, and the university security suite.

Law Information Technology (LIT) will gladly assist you in making your computer decision. Contact us via Live Chat at https://law.northwestern.edu/itbook a remote one-on-one consultation, email lit@law.northwestern.edu, or call us (312) 503-7000.

Additional Technical Resources


Secondary Devices

All secondary device requests are paid for by the staff member’s department upon approval by the department manager or the faculty member’s research account. Northwestern Law IT does not cover the cost of work-from-home items; the individual’s department covers the cost of these items. However, LIT is happy to recommend and order standard items.  University funds cannot be used to purchase home printers.


Equipment Ordering Process

Faculty and staff must contact the IT department in order to purchase any tech-related items, regardless of whether the item is being paid for through a research account.  IT has in place specific configurations and parameters for laptops and desktop computers. Furthermore, the University receives certain educational discounts from preferred vendors that may not be accessible when purchased outside of the organization. Our tax-exempt status allows the Law School to purchase items without tax charges.

Faculty and staff will not receive reimbursement for items purchased outside of Law IT. This policy prevents a faculty or staff member from purchasing any tech item that Law IT cannot support and ensures that employees are purchasing the correct hardware and software. In case of an emergency, the IT department can provide a loaner or replacement laptop that can be configured appropriately until a new computer can be purchased.


Support of Office Computers

Law IT provides hardware and software support for office computers, including statistical software packages. Law IT does not support personal home equipment or personally installed hardware, software, or peripherals.

Computers provided by the university are for business, research, and scholarly purposes. Software, media, and data used for personal purposes, photographs, music, or movies, should not be placed on university-owned machines. All computers and additional computer hardware and software purchased with university funds are university property. If a faculty member leaves, all computer equipment must be returned to Law School IT.

For security reasons, any work for the Law School must be done utilizing Law School provided


Replacement Cycle

LIT has a 4-year replacement cycle for laptops and a 4–6-year cycle for desktops. To receive a replacement, a faculty or staff member must make an appointment with a LIT technician to purchase a new machine. Faculty and staff members must return their old equipment before they can receive a replacement. Upon leaving the Law School, faculty members must return all computing devices purchased with university funds to LIT. At this time, LIT does not allow employees to purchase their old equipment for personal use.  Older laptops will be repurposed as loaner laptops for NU Law students. 

If purchased through a research account, it is possible for a faculty member to possess multiple school laptops. Staff members are allowed up to 2 laptops to be supported by LIT technicians, and faculty members are allowed a maximum of 3 machines that qualify to be supported by LIT technicians. Additional machines that are not supported must be returned to LIT.