Top 10 Best Briefcases for Lawyers

By The Black Fin Team

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Category: Industry News Productivity


A Comprehensive List of Best Briefcases for Improving Lawyers’ Caseload Efficiency, Professionalism, and Personal Style

Being a lawyer is all about living in the details. Of course, there’s no one who knows that better than you. Whether you’re a partner, associate, or of counsel, the daily job of a lawyer is filled with literally thousands of details about cases, relevant legislation, and the like.

Sometimes, in the midst of all these details, it can be difficult to remember one important question: How can you simplify your professional life?

While simplifying an attorney’s schedule, work load, or even office is no small feat, it’s possible to choose material items that add progress to cases while helping you to stand out professionally. And, what’s one of the best purchases which lawyers can make that can positively, pragmatically affect their workload? Choosing the best briefcase.

The Case for the Briefcase

If given the choice of making any purchase, we know that lawyers – often being a very practical bunch – would usually opt for more effective technology, upgrades in legal software to improve their practice, or perhaps even an office makeover to attract new clients. And, it goes without saying that these are all excellent purchases for you and your firm to make. But, sometimes, all it takes to improve efficiency is to improve your own aesthetic just slightly.  

This is where we begin our case for the briefcase. Though so much of our lives is consumed with digital-this and online-that, face-to-face interactions with clients and colleagues happen frequently in the legal field. As you ponder whether or not a briefcase (or briefcase upgrade) is really necessary, consider the following three benefits of the briefcase for lawyers:

1. Pragmatism

On a very basic, pragmatic level, briefcases are extremely useful. Briefcases can assist greatly with caseloads by handily organizing all the materials – whether it be print or electronics – you’re using on the case. By merging sturdiness with light-weight design, briefcases can make the transportation of case materials between personal and professional life much easier.

Even though choosing the right one may take some time, with all of the potential features and styles out there, we think it’s a worthwhile investment.

2. Professionalism

No matter where your work takes you – whether to the courthouse, clients’ offices, or simply to your own – briefcases are an incredibly easy, even thoughtless, way to put your best professional foot forward without expounding much effort. Though schedules are filled with many tasks these days, choosing the right briefcase for your lifestyle can be just as much a personal choice as it is a professional one. And, not to mention: Briefcases still haven’t been beaten by the backpack, so perhaps there’s something to be said about the classic chicness of a great briefcase.

3. First Impressions

Beyond just pragmatism and professionalism, first impressions also speak volumes – particularly in the legal industry. When meeting a client for the first time, dressing well and having an air of trustworthiness is critical, for example. Part of creating these first impressions all has to do with the manner by which lawyers carry themselves, as well as their materials. You can walk into a meeting with a prospective client while holding a pen and legal pad in hand, or you can house both items in a sophisticated briefcase. Which do you think sends a message of seriousness, professionalism, and trustworthiness?

Much Ado About Briefcases

When shopping for a briefcase, you may quickly discover that they are truly part of an empire all their own.

Briefcases are so specialized, in fact, that it’s sometimes necessary to categorize their style and use categories into further categories. Of course, the standard briefcase is noteworthy for a few familiar characteristics: Roomy interior with dividing sections and organizing pockets, a cover flap that protects contents and snaps into the briefcase body, and a handle or similar carrying device.

Beyond the standard briefcase, however, there are five main styles within which most other briefcases will fall. Here is where knowing your own expectations for your briefcase is important. Moving from simplest to more complex features, we have:

The Padfolio

Often mistaken for a portfolio, the padfolio is the absolute simplest of all briefcases. Padfolios usually come in two sizes: Letter or legal size. As the name suggests, padfolios are great for holding notepads, pens, post-it notes, and business cards, but don’t expect to squeeze much else in your padfolio.

Best used for: The padfolio is great for adding a professional touch to meetings around the office, or for the extreme no-frills lawyer who does not expect to carry many documents.

The Portfolio

Like the padfolio, standard portfolios are a simpler form of the briefcase concept. But, unlike the padfolio, portfolios are designed with a bit more portability in mind; portfolios have zipping capability, and some now have a handle on the side. Additionally, while the portfolio shouldn’t be expected to haul massive amounts of documentation, they can be trusted with slightly more contents than padfolios, and they’re usually a bit sturdier.

Best used for: The portfolio is the obvious choice for the on-the-go lawyer who still isn’t sold on carrying a bulkier model briefcase. But, here again, it’s important to remember that large amounts of documentation and case files will not fit nicely into a portfolio briefcase.

The Attaché

When one pictures a standard business briefcase, chances are high that it’s an image of an attaché. This is the gold standard of the business world, and a beloved favorite by anyone who wants to look especially professional. By standard design, the attaché opens in the center to reveal a large compartment (sometimes including dividers for document organization) on one side and several organizational pockets for gadgets and smaller items that every lawyer needs while working.

Best used for: Attachés make great use of their central handle, which in turn makes them a good choice for lawyers who plan to transport a fair amount of documentation, while also maintaining organization and quick access to things like pens or business cards. Attachés are also great in any business capacity.

The Messenger

Perhaps the most casual member of the briefcase family, the messenger bag is usually distinguishable by its longer strap in place of the more standard handle. Messenger bags are especially regarded for their immense mobility and transportability of documents, laptops, books, etc. Like the standard briefcase, the messenger bag usually features a top cover that can be flipped open to reveal several large, roomy dividers that are ideal for organizing and protecting a larger quantity of documents.

Best used for: The messenger is incredibly portable, so those who walk a lot during their commutes or carry large amounts of materials may find this option most suitable. But, beware of the casual look of the messenger bag – consider opting for a sleeker design to keep it more professional, if that’s your goal.

The Travel or Rolling Briefcase  

When work trips come up on the horizon, a travel (or rolling) briefcase is probably the most efficient choice. The great thing about these briefcases is their size; often, they’re designed to comfortably house a laptop, documents, and even light clothing for an overnight business trip. They come standard with wheels and a long handle, making them a breeze to use through the airport.

Best used for: Lawyers who expect to travel often for work may find that this is the best choice for them. It’s practical, yet professional. And, when paired with a smaller padfolio or portfolio, it’s possible to not even have to bring the travel briefcase along to your meetings – though, it’s no problem if you do.

Top 10 Best Briefcases for Lawyers

Now that the various briefcase styles have been made clear, here are the top briefcases for lawyers, according to a variety of online opinions:

For the Casual Carrier…

10. Kenneth Cole Reaction Colombian Leather Portfolio ($130)

The Kenneth Cole Reaction portfolio/briefcase is a fan favorite with its versatile design, many organizational pockets (including one for laptops), and optional shoulder strap. Customers claim that the genuine leather, along with its high quality overall, lead this briefcase to be one that lasts a long time. It’s best for those who want a more casual look to the business briefcase.

9. Herschel Supply Co. Gibson Messenger ($80)

The Herschel Supply Co. Gibson is a top industry messenger bag, designed with organization, mobility, and style in mind. Though it’s pricier than many other messenger bag options, the company that produces this messenger is popular worldwide for its quality and impeccable style notes.

8. Fossil Defender Messenger ($298)

The Defender is a great choice for those interested in a casual, yet professional and edgy, look. Fossil, already well-known for its reputation in the watch industry, carries a line of high-quality bags that seem to specialize in the latest trends. This particular bag features a laptop compartment and several additional pockets for extra storage, all wrapped in a super-sleek outer design.

For the Stylish Carrier…

7. Knomo Men’s Brompton Classic Newbury ($350)

The Knomo Brompton Newbury Briefcase is part of a larger luggage collection by the famed Knomo designs out of London. Its modern design and excellent spacing means that it’s a great mix of style and practicality.

6. Linjer Soft Briefcase ($489)

This Linjer briefcase is perfect for those seeking that classic briefcase look, especially if you’re prioritizing style over the amount of contents it can hold. Though it’s pricier than other similar options, it’s a high-quality bag that was a top favorite of the Wirecutter for its user-friendliness and design.

5. Coach Metropolitan Slim Brief ($248)

Perhaps one of the simplest yet classiest designs topping the style list is the Coach Metropolitan Slim briefcase. Its size allows for storage of all lawyers’ essentials, though it doesn’t have much room for large amounts of case documents. This is a top choice for any lawyer looking for quality and professionalism, but not necessarily space, in a briefcase.

For the Practical Carrier…

4. Bostanten Leather Briefcase ($90)

The Bostanten is an excellent choice for lawyers looking for high quality but less frills. This briefcase has a strong reputation for practicality, efficient storage space, a variety of different pockets for every gadget, and a zip-top protection feature. Though it’s more expensive than other viable choices, it’s a worthwhile investment.

3. Polare Leather Overnight Business Briefcase ($150)

This Polare briefcase is great at mixing two practical briefcase needs: The size of a travel briefcase, but the transport option of a standard briefcase. For this reason, it makes a great choice for lawyers who want the option to use it for travel, but may not need the full-blown efficiency (and bulkiness) of wheels. According the purchasers, the quality of this briefcase is also excellent.

2. Alpine Swiss Expandable Leather Briefcase ($60)

The Alpine Swiss Expandable Briefcase is a crowd-pleaser among several online sources as the caliber to meet for practical, efficient, and secure transport of documents and materials. And, its inexpensive price point makes it a favorite within the attaché style category.

And the Top Briefcase of 2019 is…

1. Samsonite Leather Expandable Briefcase ($160)

According to The Balance, the best overall briefcase of 2019 will be the Samsonite Leather Expandable briefcase. And, with the backing of a brand as well-known as Samsonite, it’s easy to imagine the hype. This briefcase is perfect for lawyers who are seeking pragmatism and storage for all the necessities while working on caseloads; but, it’s also simple yet stylish, while having some casual features. Overall, it suits just about any professional’s needs, particularly the needs of busy lawyers as they enter the new year.  

After Browsing Briefcases, Contact Us for All Your Online Marketing Needs

We know just how important an air of professionalism is to both you and your clients – after all, it’s all about the details (even the briefcase).

Just like every last detail of a case matters to great lawyers, we understand how important your online impressions are for audience retention and client conversions.

Whether you have a website, social media, or a search engine optimization plan in place yet or not, contact us today if you would like to improve your online traffic and widen your reach among prospective clients. At Black Fin, we assist lawyers and law firms in boosting their online presence in sophisticated and professional ways that yield real results. If you’re ready to take your web game to the next level, contact us today.

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