Finding the best lawyer briefcase for your practice is an important part of finding your particular style, and staying organized while you work.
From the first day you step into the law office, to your last day appearing in court, you will have to schlep files, yellow pads, pens, laptops, and legal tomes around with you to court and client meetings.
With that in mind, it’s worth it to invest in a high-quality briefcase early in your career because that one briefcase can last your entire legal career (or longer).
While everyone has different style tastes and different practices areas and settings may have their own unique needs, most people will find the best lawyer briefcase for them from the following options.
Non-traditional Briefcase Alternatives
Most lawyers should probably stick to classic, more traditional, briefcase options, but some want to break the mold and go the non-traditional route.
Backpacks are for children. You’re an adult. You’ve worked hard to get through law school and pass the bar to have some fancy letters after your name. People come to you for legal advice, and it is your duty to represent your clients zealously. Do you think that you, a lawyer, carrying your important client files around in a backpack like a fifth grader will inspire confidence that you are a competent, confident professional? But if you insist, at least get one that’s interesting, like something from Booq:
Messenger bags are for bike messengers, mailmen, and people who are too cool for backpacks. Yes, I understand that you may have a super-cool limited edition color-way bag featuring a screen print by your favorite street artist. That’s fine, but save it for carrying your things when you are not lawyering. If you do want one of those hipster bags, we prefer Timbuk2:
Black Ballistic Nylon Laptop Bag
These are the Wonder Bread of briefcases. Nothing says “I don’t care” like a generic black ballistic nylon laptop bag used as a briefcase. I don’t think that anyone buys these — they just kind of show up in peoples’ houses. I like to imagine that people carry these only because they don’t have to think — they simply find this bag in their house, shrug, and start using it as a briefcase. They are ugly, boring, and generic. The ballistic nylon will not age well, and the zippers will likely break.
These bags are ugly, boring, and generic. The ballistic nylon will not age well, and the zippers will probably break. Seriously, Amazon sells these in a “10-pack.”
Bag from a “Brand Name Designer”
There is a distinct difference between branding and quality. Too many fashion “designers” these days produce garbage, stick their label on it, and charge a premium for the brand. Don’t fall prey to the siren’s song — most of the time these goods are made of inferior materials with inferior construction and aren’t worth the price tag.
Now that we’ve figured out what you shouldn’t be carrying your important lawyerly stuff in, we should discuss some better options.
Best Lawyer Briefcase for a Variety of Budgets
I’ve provided three different options for a briefcase that will last you your entire career or longer. These are so well-built you will probably be able to give them to your kids.
Best Lawyer Briefcase Under $250: The Filson Original
The Filson Original Briefcase is a classic no-nonsense design. It’s made in the USA of water-resistant cotton twill and should be large enough to handle your legal-sized files. The big brass zippers are not going to jam and break. It also comes with a bridle-leather shoulder strap.
It’s affordably priced at under $250 and is available in tan, otter green, or brown.
Best Lawyer Briefcase for $250-$750:
Allen Edmonds has been making classic handmade shoes in Wisconsin for almost 100 years. In fact, in addition to some nice briefcases and accessories, they also make the best shoes for lawyers.
The Allen Edmonds Double Flap Briefcase is a great medium size and weight, constructed of beautiful leather that will age well over time.
Best Lawyer Briefcase for $750-$1,000: Saddleback Leather Classic
The Saddleback Classic Large Briefcase is a beast. It’s made of thick full-grain boot leather and weighs in at a substantial 7 1/2 pounds. The large size is 16″ wide, a 12″ tall, and 9″ deep — big enough to hold a redwell or two, plus your laptop, and a few books. The pockets on the outside are great to hold extra pens, your business cards, your keys, or a bottle of hand sanitizer. Because it’s full-grain leather, it develops a wonderful patina as it ages. It will get scratched from time to time, but those scratches buff out with a quick brush and add to the character of the bag.
Finally, because it fastens with buckles, there’s nothing to break or fall apart — you won’t have to worry about dainty locks or forgetting a tumble lock combination. The large bag with a pigskin lining is available in four different colors and will cost you about $750.00.
Best Lawyer Briefcase Over $1,000: Swaine Adeney Brigg Westminster Legal Case
So you’ve recently come into a bit of money and have a $2,500.00 budget for a briefcase? Then this Swaine Adeney Brigg Westminster case is for you. SAB is an English luggage and umbrella manufacturer that has been around since 1750. They have held Royal Warrants since 1893 for their goods.
If they are good enough for English Royalty, they should be good enough for you.
Available in four colors (Black, Chestnut, Havana, and London Tan), this bag is made of leather tanned with natural plant extracts, rather than harsh synthetics, so it will only look better with age. It’s not as large as the Saddleback, and it costs 10x as much as the Filson, but if durability and timeless style are your things, and you have some excess cash to spend, you can’t get much better than this.
The Overall Best Lawyer Briefcase: The Filson Original
The best briefcase for lawyers is the Filson Original, a classic canvas bag that will last forever and look great, at a great price.
Rating: 5 (out of 5)
Best Lawyer Briefcase: Filson Original Briefcase, reviewed by Leo Mulvihill, Jr. on based on an earlier version from February 8, 2013.
Featured image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/drewcoffman/5816747467/
Read the next post in this series: "Best Professional Bags and Briefcases for Women Lawyers."