For a lot of millennial men, the briefcase has quietly evolved into the messenger bag, but this distinguished and practical accessory still has one loyal demographic. If you are a lawyer, the briefcase is one of your most permanent outfit accessories. Your briefcase shapes other people’s impressions of you, and that’s why it is important for you to choose the right one. It will be the indomitable workhorse of your professional attire, getting battered by travel and wear, so it needs to be made from quality materials. The best briefcase for lawyers could outlive even the most tenacious career.
The traditional lawyer briefcase is an expandable, leather calf-skin with a single, thick leather handle and metal (usually brass) hardware. But with modern production techniques and materials, comes a kaleidoscope of new and exciting iterations. We’ve put together a broad range for you from the uber traditional to more modern, including, shoulder strapped bags, two- and four-wheeled bags for the regularly traveling lawyers, and polyester materials.
The jury’s decision is final. These are the best briefcases for lawyers on the market right now.
1. Mack Weldon Ion Briefcase
Mack Weldon is one of our favorite brands for men. The company is best known for its super-comfortable shirts and basics, but the company just released a new briefcase as part of the Ion 2.0 Collection for Fall 2020. This modern briefcase is made from water-resistant industrial twill and comes with two padded compartments for documents and devices. Inside, you’ll find an incredible number of pockets and organizers for holding anything you could possibly need during the workday. This handsome bag is one of the best briefcases for lawyers starting their careers, and it’s a sophisticated alternative to your standard messenger bag or backpack.
2. Montblanc Full-Grain Leather Briefcase
BEST LUXE BAG
This bag means business, and when people see you with it, they’ll know you do, too. While it doesn’t scream flash, a Montblanc bag is a major statement piece whether you’re carrying it into the office or into the big meeting. It’s made from black, full-grain leather with a minimal profile and the brand’s signature star emblem accenting the front. It’s got convenient handles as well as a strap, and has plenty of space inside for your laptop, tablet and sensitive documents.
Read More: 17 Stylish Leather Briefcases for Men
3. Samsonite Leather Expandable Business Case
You know the name Samsonite, and even if you don’t associate it with luxury or sophistication, you do associate it with dependable luggage that will last a lifetime. And while the best premium leather briefcases for men look more and more like large purses every year, this expandable business case looks like a classic briefcase — because that’s exactly what it is. This briefcase is crafted from genuine leather and comes with two carrying handles and a shoulder strap. There are enough pockets and compartments to hold everything you need throughout the day, and it’s designed to be stuffed to the brim with documents and folders.
4. Samsonite Bonded Leather Attache Briefcase
BEST AFFORDABLE HARD SHELL
A hardshell briefcase has numerous benefits — from being more protective to giving you full detective-in-a-spy-movie vibes. This one fits 15.6″ laptops easily and expands to reveal a 4-file, 3-tier organizer inside. The handle is top carry and padded as well, and the combination locks that secure it are black nickel. The leather has a matte finish with a bonded leather exterior as well as a fully-lined interior that makes organizing easy.
5. BOSS Signature Collection Briefcase
This briefcase is sleek and discreet, but moreover, you can guarantee quality from the iconic German brand HUGO BOSS. They have taken the same uncompromising standards for style, materials and workmanship from their various departments and focused that into the leather goods market. For a lawyer traveling light, the eternal suitability of black calfskin leather, featherweight feel and simplistic design make it a perennially appropriate choice. Features include: two-way zip closure, top carry handles, exterior zip pocket and a shoulder strap.
6. Ralph Lauren Burnished Vachetta Briefcase
This beautiful briefcase from Ralph Lauren is made out of smooth Italian leather and comes in a sophisticated, polished vintage brown. It’s got a structured silhouette and is designed to slowly develop a patina over time. It’s got a slender shape that’s perfect for everyday life and also has plenty of interior space for storing all your workday essentials.
7. Ted Baker Striped PU Document Bag
Stylish should never mean gaudy, and that much is true with this gorgeous leather bag from Ted Baker. It’s got a classic design with a single chocolate-brown stripe running down the center. While it looks like a classic leather briefcase for men, it’s actually made from synthetic materials, part of Ted Baker’s NEVVER collection of accessories.
8. Topo Designs Commuter Briefcase
If you work at a more casual, progressive law firm or are in-house council at a trendy tech company, this briefcase is perfect. It’s got the silhouette of a classic briefcase, the formal buttoned-up design you need for the meeting and the durability to throw it on your back for your bike ride home. It’s got an internal padded sleeve for your laptop, a large zippered front panel pocket and leather carrying handles.
9. DUNHILL Cadogan Super Slim Document Case
If your legal career has been flourishing, firstly, we congratulate you, and secondly, it’s probably time to treat yourself to a briefcase that will last. Dunhill offers design at its most refined. This briefcase is constructed in Italy from richly textured leather, featuring subtle hardware accents and a two-way zippered closure. It is traditionalism at its most sincere and is an example of the phenomenally high standards this fashion house holds itself to.
10. Shinola Detroit Slim Briefcase
Shinola is a fantastic brand for a variety of accessories, leather or otherwise, for men and women. This slim briefcase of theirs has made to be carried comfortably, and securely house your most precious workday items. It’s got an exterior slip pocket for smaller items as well as three interior pockets for organization. It’s got strong carry handles and silver-toned hardware that adds nice polish to the sleek black leather.
11. Barbour Leather Briefcase
A briefcase with the flexibility of space is an amazing attribute for anyone lugging around hordes of paper at any time, as lawyers tend to do. Due to the design of this Barbour bag, which starts wide at the bottom and narrows towards the top, it will compress or decompress to match the contents inside. It comes in a wonderful burgundy tan color with brass hardware; a timeless combination. But also, it has the brand’s famous tartan lining inside making no mistake about its traditional heritage feel. It has two exterior front pockets, a back document pocket, and the large, flexible interior space.
12. Valextra Cross-Grain Leather Briefcase
BEST ITALIAN LEATHER
If the goal is to find a bag so beautiful it might bring a tear to your eye, you can safely end your search here. Meet Valextra’s Cross-Grain Leather Briefcase. An exclusive to Mr. Porter, this bag combines everything we love about briefcase style and quality. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Valextra has been around since 1937, steadily churning out quality leather goods all the way from Milano, Italy. The bag features a dual-gusset setup, which allows it to keep its handsome shape while expanding. Furthermore, you can easily fit a regular-sized laptop, along with all of your daily work essentials. But for us, it’s the fitted lock and key that set off this stylish and sleek-looking bag.
13. Herschel Gibson Messenger
BEST ENTRY LEVEL
We love Herschel here at Spy, and for good reason. Their bags, suitcases and briefcases are all top-notch without being too pretentious, much like this Gibson messenger bag. It’s optimally designed for organization and decked out with two main compartments as well as a whole bunch of smaller organizers. The carrying handles are EVA-reinforced and the bag has a removable shoulder strap you can use to carry it. It’s got a padded, fleece-lined 15″ laptop sleeve as well as zippered compartment closures for security. It’s got a classic, no-frills design that won’t stop any shows, but also looks sophisticated and professional at the same time.
14. Louis Vuitton Dandy Briefcase PM
BEST FASHION HERITAGE CHOICE
The tendency for this famous luggage maker to plaster their brand name over their briefcases would normally push them into being too ostentatious for a lawyer. However, this chic and sleek offering is a masterclass in subtle styling. It’s made of full-grain Taurillon leather for a classic business chic look. The keyholder is made with contrasting leather for a little flair, and it’s got a double rivet signature for another dash of uniqueness. Inside it’s got an iPad pocket and a double flat pocket for documents.
15. Mulberry Belgrave Leather Briefcase
The Belgrave full-grain leather briefcase from Mulberry screams sophistication. From the detailed embroidered edging to the simple silver accents on the two-way zipper, this bag is built to last. Plus, the briefcase isn’t going to scratch and ding because it’s made from durable, textured full-grain cow leather. The tan exterior color and matching carrying handles are the cherry on top of this relatively roomy briefcase.
16. Dryden Ballistic Nylon Briefcase
I’m loving this nylon briefcase from Huckberry that strikes just the right balance between a hard shell leather briefcase and a messenger bag. It’s got structure without being too formal, and a trendy design without being too casual for a law firm. It’s perfect for commuting, and it’s made with only the highest-quality materials so you’ll be able to use it for years to come. It’s got a large interior pocket for a 15″ laptop as well as slotted pockets inside for smaller items. The trolley strap can also easily slip over luggage handles so your airport ventures are smooth, and the 1000D nylon is both water-repellent and abrasion-resistant so you arrive looking polished every time.
17. Montblanc Meisterstuck Leather Briefcase
BEST BLACK BRIEFCASE
This sleek and simple briefcase is the perfect black brief. The slim bag is made in Italy and is crafted out of smooth cow leather. Even though the bag is thin, there is still plenty of storage with an interior zipped pocket and two slip pockets. Plus, the three interior pen holders and an extra padded sleeve will keep you organized, and the two-way zippers keep your things secure.
18. Tumi Aviano Slim Briefcase
Nylon isn’t a material you might consider when you search for the best briefcase for lawyers, but this Aviano Slim option from Tumi manages to make it work. Rich black leather on the trim, handles and front pocket nicely complements the durable nylon exterior. Inside, there are a few different compartments, including card slots and a pen loop, that will keep you highly organized, so you don’t have to go digging around for that business card in the dark. Let’s not forget to mention the padded laptop compartment that’ll keep your tech safe and secure.
19. Boconi ‘Byrant’ Briefcase
BEST MESSENGER BAG DESIGN
If this briefcase doesn’t elicit some sort of warm, fuzzy feeling inside you, we don’t know what briefcase will. Its symmetrical design complimented with supple Italian leather, the simple gold buckles and light contrast stitching make it a delight to behold. Boconi may sound Italian, but it’s as American as cherry pie — the name is an amalgam of Nashville residents, Bobby and Connie Williams. The slim design is perfect for those who travel to work light, or have done away with excessive paper use in favor of the cloud storage, or USB.
20. Aspinal Aerodrome Briefcase
BEST OLD-SCHOOL DESIGN
This ‘Aerodrome’ briefcase by the leather goods firm Aspinal is inspired by WWII design and looks phenomenal. It has been produced in collaboration with supermodel David Gandy and even has replica Spitfire Mk1 firing button metal lock closure. Inside, you will find a spacious central compartment with the capacity to store a 13-inch MacBook Air, a large zipped pocket and two open-top pouches for your devices ensuring you have plenty of room for your business essentials. This Italian calf-skin briefcase is steeped in heritage and tradition, proving that sometimes the old way is the best way.
Updates: This article was last updated on Monday, July 25, 2022, at which time we replaced the Ted Baker Castlin Leather Satchel, which is no longer available, with the Ted Baker Striped PU Document Bag.