What is an Attache Case?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Long before the advent of the laptop computer bag, many professionals carried an attache case. Often referred to as a briefcase, it provided both a practical and attractive means of carrying important paperwork from one location to another. Everyone from traveling salespeople to attorneys and corporate executives all the way through to high school teachers and college professors used this type of case. Essentially, any profession that may require dealing with paperwork in various venues could benefit from using an attache case.

Someone who often carries a lot of paperwork might find an attache case helpful.
Someone who often carries a lot of paperwork might find an attache case helpful.

Traditionally, an attache case is rectangular in shape, includes locks to secure the contents of the case, and features a handle that makes it easy for the owner to carry the case from one location to another. The interior usually includes an open main section, with one to three pockets or pouches that are ideal for storing of files and folders. In many versions, there are also small pockets that provide space for business cards, pens, and a small notepad.

Today, the attache case continues to provide all those functions. In addition, it often includes storage for a laptop computer, palmtop printer, handheld devices, and other related tools. This sort of case is generally considered to be more professional in appearance than a simple computer bag. From a practical perspective, it also provides better protection for the electronic equipment than the standard soft side computer bag, as well as keeping paperwork and the traditional essentials organized and in place.

In many instances, one made of leather is considered the most sleek and professional looking of all briefcases. With sturdy construction, the leather case provides excellent security, ample storage, and remains the gold standard for setting a polished and professional appearance in the workplace.

Other materials can also be used for the attache case. Canvas and simulated leather coverings over the standard hard side construction work very well in work situations that may call for a more relaxed look, while still providing plenty of storage and protection for the contents. Good quality cases can be purchased at many office supply stores, as well as establishments that sell fine luggage. While it can be an expensive investment, obtaining a high quality case will ensure eight to ten years of continuous use, rather than requiring the owner to purchase a new one every couple of years.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I learned a lesson the hard way when I bought a soft side attache case for my laptop. There are several styles to choose from when it comes to laptop attache cases, and from now on, I will always use one that has a hard covering.

My laptop was ruined because the soft side case didn't have enough protection. I should have known this, but went with one I liked the look of better. I went with something that looked more modern instead of something that would protect my computer.

I also need something that I can lock if I need to, and it is hard to find a soft side case with this feature.

When I had to replace my laptop, I figured my investment in a good attache case was more important than I had realized the first time around.


They have some really great looking attache cases for women that look a lot different from your standard attache case.

You can find them in just about any color or design you can imagine. I like using an attache case that is different than your usual solid black or brown color.

I work in sales and use an attache case every day. I have found that most of them function just about the same, and I like to have one that is different than most all the others you see.

Many of the women I meet with will often comment on my attache case. When I am working, my attache case also serves as a purse, so it is fun to use something that is practical as well as stylish.


My boss works for a major bank as an investment representative. She travels around to more than one bank location, so a good attache case is an important asset for her.

She carries her laptop computer along with other important papers and information. At first she tried using a cheap attache case, but this didn't last very long.

Now she uses an attache case that looks more like a suitcase on wheels. This makes it a lot easier for her to transport this around from her car to each bank, and also does a good job of protecting her computer.

It also works well if she has to do any overnight traveling. Making your way through an airport is much more convenient when you having something with wheels on it.


Even though there have been changes in the design and look of attache cases through the years, it seems like a leather one is still the most expensive and professional looking.

A good leather laptop briefcase is not cheap, but the leather will really hold up for a long period of time.

The few times I have purchased a canvas attache case, I have had to replace it every couple of years because it wears out so fast.

The only thing I will ever buy anymore is leather. Not only does it look nicer, but in the long run doesn't end up costing me any more money.

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