Esquire after a name

Was does that mean exactly? ie John Smith Esq. This is one of those " I know I should know this but I don’t " questions.

It’s usually used to indicate that John Smith is a lawyer. Something of an affectation.

Esq. is short for “Esquire”. It used to be a formal title of the gentry in Britain, but evovled into a general form of address. Use it if you’re writing letters to attorneys, the British, or Bugs Bunny.

A friend of mine once got a letter with Esq. after his name and when he asked someone what it ment he got the answer “That’s the proper way to address a gentleman or someone who thinks he is one”.

A Staff Report by Diane on the uses and formalities of “esquire”. Over here in university in England, it’s often used just to indicate someone who’s completed their degree. And you never sign anything Esquire (unless you’re name is Bill S. Preston); people address you as Esq.

The term “Esquire” can be of many terms. But mostly from the “old english testimonial”. Esquire is ment to be a formal hello from other nobles in that time. However, if anyone posesses that nobleness., then they shall receive that that title.

Mark. Esq.

So, can female attorneys use the “esquire” appellation?

I’ve known some that did.

I put “Esquire” on my tax returns just for grins. Never had any trouble for it.

Today in the U.S. it is “properly” used to denote an attorney, but that’s a meaning we attorneys have adopted on our own and there is no regulation of the term. However, were someone to use it who is a law student or law-school graduate not yet licensed to practice, he might be disciplined for holding himself out as a lawyer (depending on the context and his audience).

–Cliffy, Esq.

Right. In addressing a snail-mail letter to Dewey Cheatem Undhow, I would address the letter to either:


(Using both the “Esq.” and the “Attorney at Law” is a solecism.)

On the other hand, there’s nothing preventing any citizen, member of the bar or not, from using “Esq.” or from being addressed as such; it’s not a legal title.

What would be illegal is in its use to misrepresent oneself as a member of the bar entitled to practice law for personal gain when one is not actually so entitled.

As a former employee of a government agency which used non-lawyers to research legal questions, I was made very aware of the rules on this. We could look up what the law said, what case law was reported as relevant, what opinions state counsel had rendered on questions (in New York, advisory opinions from several state officials are a part of “the law” as it is read), and report this to the local officials that were our clientele. We could not, however, give legal advice – “The law says that you can/should do this:…” If such an opinion were required, we were forced to provide the results of the research to the agency’s counsel, who would write a memo saying what the local official ought to do. And of course, as a private individual not representing oneself as a lawyer, one may dispense free legal advice – which is usually worth about as much as it costs!

Something I’ve been confused about: If you’re not licensed to practice in the state where you are located, can you claim to be a lawyer? Obviously you can’t practice law, but do you lose the right to call yourself a lawyer in a professional setting?

No. Most jurisdictions require you to apply for a license in that jurisdiction if you are licensed elsewhere and plan to ply your trade in the new jurisdiction, but once you’re a lawyer you’re a lawyer everywhere – you just might be barred from practicing in the new jurisdiction before you are admitted.