My Old Leather “Briefcase”-Appearances Do Matter

I have this old, brown leather case or document bag.

Calling it a briefcase would probably be stretching the definition of briefcase at this point in its life, but it probably started out life once as a briefcase.

When I qualified as a solicitor a few years ago I started out trying to get clients-criminal law clients-in the District Court. This was a foolish, misguided strategy-one I changed not long after-but I won’t go into that here.

To get clients, however, I needed to take on the appearance of being experienced and appear that I had been around the block a few times-that is, that I knew what I was doing. The fact that I had qualified as a solicitor in my mature years was a help to address concerns of naivety or inexperience.

But getting the old, brown, scuffed briefcase/document bag on Ebay for Stg£5 was a useful and functional prop to round out the image. I would not look like a novice or ingenue to the experienced clientele I encountered in the District Court.

Appearances do matter in life and business, regardless of whether we like this or agree.

Anyway, the bag is scuffed and worn at this stage of its career, but it is robust and functional and can carry quite a lot of stuff, including a laptop, diary, and a number of files, all at the same time.

There is an old-fashioned buckle on it and a few years ago the leather strap became so worn that it wore through. A trip to a shoe repair guy in Maynooth shopping centre soon saw it being restored to its former faded grandeur and being pressed back into service.

From time to time it crosses my mind that I need to change it, perhaps for a fancier, more modern bag or satchel. But it has been with me for so long now that I feel a certain loyalty to it and it would be akin to throwing a friend aside if I was to ditch it now.

I can recall at least three occasions when an individual made a comment to me about this bag, something to the effect that it had been around a long time or had seen better days. I assume, therefore, that it must have a certain noticeable aspect or quality.

There is one aspect of this bag that I find intensely annoying: if there is not much in it the buckle allows the bag to open of its own accord. This doesn’t happen when there is a good weight in it because the downward pressure from the weighty files and laptop mean there is a sufficient amount of pressure on the buckle to prevent it from opening.

If it continues to be disagreeable on the point of opening unexpectedly, I will have to consider its continued role in my legal career again.

But for now, it is hanging on.


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