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Esquire Lawyer (What It Means And Why It’s Important: Overview)

What does Esquire Lawyer mean?

Who can use the title esquire?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s define the meaning of esquire so you know all about it!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What Is An Esquire Lawyer

The term esquire refers to a legal title used by attorneys in the United States meaning that he or she is authorized to practice law.

Most often, you will see the abbreviation of the term esquire (Esq.) used by lawyers and attorneys following their name or on their letterhead.

No matter what type of law an attorney may practice, so long as the lawyer is legally authorized to practice law, legally advise clients, or represent others, the attorney may use esquire as a title.

Historically, in the United Kingdom, esquire was used as a title of respect given to men having a social rank below that of a knight.

Eventually, the title was used by those bearing an office of trust (ultimately lawyers).

What’s usual is to see the term esquire appear in formal communications, letters, business communications, business cards, signature lines and official documents as opposed to verbal or spoken communications.

It’s rare to hear an attorney present himself or herself as an esquire in verbal communications.

Lawyers are not legally required to use the term esquire in their name.

Those that choose to include the term esquire will do so out of preference.

Esquire Lawyer Meaning

The term “Esquire”, or its abbreviation “Esq.”, refers to an honorary title given to lawyers and attorneys practicing law in the United States.

For a person to be authorized to practice law, he or she must pass the state bar exam and obtain a license to practice law in the applicable state.

Once the person is licensed to practice law, the attorney may use the term esquire in his or her name.

For example, an attorney may write her name as Mary Smith Esq. or John Anderson Esquire.

Alternative To Esquire

Some lawyers prefer to use esquire or ESQ after their name to show that they are practicing lawyers.

However, the use of the term esquire is customary and not legally mandated.

As such, some lawyers prefer to use other terms to indicate that they are practicing attorneys, such as:

  • J.D.
  • Attorney at law
  • Barrister and Solicitor 

Depending on the country or jurisdiction, different honorary titles may be used by the attorneys.

For example, in French jurisdictions such as in Quebec or France, the term “Maître” is used before an attorney’s name indicating that they are a licensed attorney or jurist.

How To Get Esquire Lawyer Title

There are technically two important steps that must be passed before a person can use the title esquire after his or her name.

The first step is for a person to graduate from an accredited law school.

For a person to get admitted to law school, it’s common to first try to pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as many law schools require law students to take this exam.

When admitted, the law student will then need to successfully obtain his or her law degree.

Once the university degree is obtained, the second step is to pass the bar exam with the state.

Every state requires that law students looking to obtain a license to practice law pass a bar exam to show that they have the necessary competencies to become practicing lawyers.

Once the bar exams are passed, the person will become a licensed attorney and therefore will have the right to use esquire.

For a newly licensed attorney, using the term esquire provides a sense of accomplishment for so many years of hard work.

When To Use Esquire Attorney

The first thing to keep in mind is that the title esquire should be used by a person who has obtained a law degree from an accredited law school and has successfully passed the state bar exams.

In other words, a person that is duly authorized and licensed to practice law can use the honorary title esquire.

Now, practicing lawyers do not have an obligation to use the lawyer esquire title.

In fact, it’s rare to hear an attorney use the word esquire in verbal communications to refer to themselves.

Quite often, an attorney will simply present his or her name without mentioning esquire in the process.

However, the lawyers and legal professionals that do use esquire will likely use it :

  • In formal communications
  • On their letterhead 
  • Business cards
  • Legal reports 
  • Lawsuit documents 
  • Legal notices 

It can be proper to use the abbreviation Esq. or Esquire in a written communication to an attorney but it’s not customary when addressing an attorney.

Esquire vs JD

What is the difference between Esquire and JD?

The abbreviation J.D. stands for Juris Doctor.

Juris Doctor is a term used to indicate that someone has received a law degree.

You can consider a J.D. abbreviation used in someone’s name to be similar to another person using the abbreviation Ph.D. or MBA.

A person who receives a bachelor in law or J.D. from an accredited law school will be eligible to write the bar exam and become a practicing attorney.

Prior to obtaining a license to practice, a law student is cannot use “esquire” in his or her name but can include “J.D.”.

Someone with just a J.D. is technically not authorized to give legal advice or legally represent a client.

Then, once the law student successfully passes the bar exams, he or she will have the choice to continue using J.D. going forward or using the term esquire.

Esquire is a term used to refer to a person who is a practicing lawyer.

However, you should not strictly rely on a person’s use of the esquire attorney title to determine if the person is an actual member of the bar, it’s best to verify with the State Bar Association.

Esquire Attorney Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What is the meaning of esquire lawyer?

It may sometimes get confusing to see so many legal titles and abbreviations.

In some cases, you may come across the term esquire and wonder what it means.

Esq., short for Esquire, indicates that the person using it is a member of the state bar and can legally practice law.

For an attorney or lawyer to use the suffix Esq. or Esquire, he or she must be a licensed legal practitioner and be legally authorized to practice law.

In summary, you can consider esquire to mean “licensed attorney”.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Esquire Lawyers Overview

  • Esquire lawyers are legal professionals member of a state bar authorized to give legal advice and legally represent clients
  • Esquire, or its abbreviation ESQ., is generally used in written communications from or to an attorney such in formal notices, lawsuit paperwork, reports, and official documents
  • For a person to use the honorary title esquire, he or she must have received a bachelor in law from a law school and passed the state bar exam
  • If a person does not have a license to practice law but has a university degree in law, he or she can use J.D. (Juris Doctor) meaning that the person has a formal degree in the field of law 
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Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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