Thanks for the replies everyone.
I anticipated the sandy bridge architecture even in it's laptop variant should be sufficiently fast relative to the core 2 duo desktop. The 2410M sandy bridge actually runs at 2.3GHz default but can turbo to 2.6GHz when both cores are active. His E7200 desktop CPU is at 3.2 GHz. So given a 600MHz difference, comparing a desktop sandy bridge to an E7200, I think the sandy will still runs circles around the E7200. But the laptop sandy bridge must be castrated in some other ways to fit within the 35W TDP, so I'm not sure if the performance differences will be significant either way.
In any case, he will be getting DDR3 RAM with the laptop while he had DDR2 with the desktop. He is looking to invest in a SSD for the laptop, so that should not be a problem either. GPU-wise, he doesn't game at all so the HD 3000 GPU should be plenty fine. I will tell him that his laptop will be at worst no slower than his desktop.
Thanks again for your input guys!
Intel i7 950 @ 4.3GHz, EVGA X58 3x SLI, Corsair 12GB DDR3, Corsair 160GB SSD + 2TB WD 7200rpm HDD, EVGA GeForce GTX 570 Superclocked, Asus Xonar Essence audio, Sony Blu-ray writer, Corsair 700D case