While we lawyers will find no shortage of opinions on what sort of computer bag best reflects upon our profession, when push comes to shove, your computer bag better provide good protection for your computer, and be able to carry whatever else you need. And let's be real for a second, ye ole standard briefcase is a relic of the past and rarely provides decent protection for laptops.
Good computer protection means that there should be a dedicated place for your laptop, that isn't too big for your machine and has enough padding to protect against a drop. It can also be beneficial for that laptop compartment to have at least one firm (or structured side) to protect against bending, as well as be elevated from the bottom of the bag (that way in case of a drop, the laptop won't hit the ground first).
1. Fancy (Leather) Fashion Statements
If you're looking for a bag that's going to meet the stereotypical expectations of clients or firm partners, be prepared to spend. If you're in that boat, then Lawyerist has an authoritative sounding list (that is gendered for some reason) with bags ranging from $250 to $1,000.
While you don't have to get the exact bags recommended there, finding something made of genuine, high-quality leather, or a high-quality fabric, is essential to presenting that stodgy lawyer image. The trick is finding one that actually provides adequate computer protection, as these bags tend to prize the status symbol aspect over the functional aspect.
2. The Standard Ballistic Nylon Computer Bag
It's likely that you have a few of those plain black, padded, black nylon laptop bags laying around your office or home. You might even have one that's made of decent leather. While these may not exude style, the fact that they are so functional and so basic means you can get away with one, and no one will think anything of it. These bags are generally rather pragmatic, particularly if the laptop compartment is well padded. So if you're going to go cheap, there's nothing wrong with going this route.
3. Roller Bags
If you're really not concerned with status or winning any fashion contests, or just have a lot of heavy files to carry, getting a roller bag can really save you lots of aches and pains. A computer, a charger, files, note pads, a water bottle, and everything else you have to carry around can quickly add up to a lot of extra pounds. If you don't want to throw your back out on the walk from the car to the office or courtroom, you might want to consider one of these (or perhaps a fold-up dolly).
4. Professional Backpacks and Messenger Bags
Though some lawyers might think that backpacks and messenger bags are only for students and messengers, respectively, there are several professional looking options (just avoid bright colors and busy patterns and opt to get something higher-end). If you have the style and confidence to pull it off, don't let others dissuade you.