I'm done with briefcases. After years of carrying one, I am switching to something that will better serve my needs, and hold an ipad, netbook, a textbook or two (I teach) and a stack of papers. So I opted for the Red Oxx gator bag in all black:
It is actually designed as a carry on bag, but the size is perfect for me. Smaller than a briefcase, it is also perfect for day trips or kicking around San Francisco. I don't care that it doesn't look like a traditional briefcase, as in my line of work people care more about your effectiveness than the image you project.