What does Esquire mean for a lawyer?

After completing their education, students in a variety of fields, such as physics, mathematics, or the social sciences, have a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), and a Juris Doctor (J.D.). .

However, even though the degrees earned by Ph.D. holders, physicians, and attorneys all contain the term “doctor,” attorneys frequently avoid using it. What causes that, specifically? Are lawyers medical professionals? In a way, yes.

Generally speaking, even while it is not specifically prohibited for the majority of lawyers to use this honorific term, i.e., Juris Doctor, to indicate their advanced degree of education, lawyers may opt not to do so for a few reasons:

(1) An attorney may violate the Model Rules of Professional Conduct by misrepresenting themselves as a doctor; (2) There is no need to use the term.

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While it may be true that an attorney possesses a doctorate-level degree, there are some situations where an attorney’s self-identification may be deceptive or unethical to prospective clients.

Putting aside ethical confusion, lawyers have another, equally effective way to distinguish themselves as professionals with sophisticated, specialized qualifications: the designation that lawyers love to call themselves is “Esquire.”

The name “Esquire,” which has its history in the United States, was originally reserved for people with a social status beneath that of “Knight.” Later, it was adopted by people in positions of trust, and eventually, it came to be used most frequently to refer to lawyers.

A person identifying as “Esquire” or “Esq.” in the United States of America is claiming to have earned a Juris Doctor and passed the state bar exam in the state where they practice law, allowing them to provide legal counsel and represent clients.

Esquire in the U.K.

The term “esquire” does not have the same professional connotation in Britain as in the United States. Instead of “Mr.”, “Mrs.,” or another title, it is used as an extremely formal address for a man or a woman.

If you say “esquire,” nobody on the other side of the pond will assume you’re referring to a lawyer. They’re just going to think you’re weird and out of touch.


Let us have a quick FAQ on “Esquire” Hopefully that will cover all your queries!

What distinguishes a lawyer from an esquire?

There is no difference. The correct legal term for a person actively licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction is “attorney,” nonetheless. Esquire is a dated surname with little significance in the United States.

An honorific designation added after a practicing lawyer’s name is “Esq.” or “Esquire.” Those who have passed a state’s (or Washington, D.C.’s) bar test and been granted a license by that jurisdiction’s bar association are considered practicing lawyers.

Is Esquire better in comparison to J.D.?

In American law, the term “esquire” refers to a person qualified to practice law. No matter what area of law they practice, any lawyer can use the title “esquire.” Esquire is a title used by corporate lawyers, family lawyers, personal injury attorneys, etc.

Is Esquire better in comparison to J.D.?

One who practices law and holds a license is known as an “esquire.” However, a person with a “J.D.,” an abbreviation for Juris doctor, is known as having a law degree.

Who is eligible to use the name, Esquire?

Non-lawyers are not permitted to use this formal phrase because it is specific to the profession. However, anyone can use the title “Esquire” without worrying about being accused of practicing law without a license.

What is the female equivalent of Esquire?

Others argued that since the term is used interchangeably with the word “attorney” in the United States, it should be applied to all lawyers. Another attorney said that the term has two meanings and that a woman who holds the title of Esquire is known as an “esquires.”

When to use esq or Esquire?

When writing to one another in a case, opposing attorneys should always use the title “Esq.” It’s not necessary to use the title while addressing an attorney, though. Instead of using a courtesy title of Mr. or Mrs. in more informal, social correspondence, use Esq. 

Is calling the Lawyer “Mr. John Esquire” inappropriate?

The term “Esquire” is a title, exactly like “Mr.” or “Mrs.” As a result, it is improper to introduce yourself as “Mr. John Smith, Esquire” or to add a title like “Mr. John Smith, Esquire, SAN.”

Esquire is generally best avoided altogether when speaking. In written communication, the phrase is most frequently used as an honorific.

Can you use the title “Esquire” in an email?

It is acceptable to use the title “Esquire” in your signature block, such as the one you add at the end of an email (“Attorney” and “Barrister-At-Law” also work for that). However, it would be best if you didn’t refer to yourself as such in conversation.

Look for direction within your firm or office, as firm practice frequently dictates how signature blocks are completed.

You should almost always add Esquire or something similar to your signature so that recipients of your email can determine that you sent it rather than a paralegal or another office staff member.


Esquire has a different connotation in law than it had historically. To have the term “esquire” prefixed to their names, lawyers must fulfill certain educational and professional standards, such as graduating from an authorized law school and passing the state or national bar test.

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