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No More Backpacks: A Brief Case For Why You Need a Good Briefcase

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on May 19, 2015 10:08 AM

Lawyers don't just carry their clients troubles on their shoulders -- we also have to drag along notebooks, filings, legal pads, computers and even the rare law book. Some days it's enough to make you feel like a highly-paid Sherpa.

That's no excuse for wearing a backpack, though. Or even a bad briefcase. As a lawyer, you need to look the part -- back pain be damned.*

Backpacks Don't Scream Authority

We've all seen the women in business suits and nurses' shoes, riding the train or bus into the office with their heels in their bag. They might not want to stand in the metro in a pair of pumps, but they know that their New Balance sneakers aren't going to send the best impression in the office. The same goes for backpacks -- for boys and girls alike. If you need to use them, at least be ready to swap them out when needed.

Backpacks, particularly large, bulky backpacks, make people think of children. That's not the image a high priced lawyer wants to inspire. Don't take your backpack to court, client meetings or around partners. Of course, the things aren't always verboten. In fact, every day I bring my notes and my lunch to FindLaw's offices in a backpack made for Swedish children. But we're casual and Californian out here. I wouldn't be caught dead with it in a more formal setting.

Invest in a Nice Briefcase

If backpacks make people think of children, a nice briefcase still inspires thoughts of the classic professional. A simple, leather attache bag will serve most purposes, especially now that laptops have slimmed down to the size of a large magazine. If you want something more on the bag side of things, Lawyerist recently compiled a list of options. They range from the more rugged, J. Peterman inspired cases to more refined, and much more expensive, British legal cases.

Whichever case suits you, however, remember -- your clothes tell a story about who you are. Make sure they tell the right one.

*Neither FindLaw nor Thomson Reuters recommends inviting nor ignoring back pain, which can lead to potentially debilitating injuries. We do not wish to imply that your health should be sacrificed for fashion, and assume you will use your common sense. Now please excuse my editor while she deals with the pain of her high heels.

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