If you’ve ever wondered what “esq.” means in the legal world, you’re not alone. This abbreviated title is commonly seen after lawyers’ names, but its meaning is not always clear. In this blog post, we’ll explain what “esq.” stands for and how it is used in the legal profession.
Checkout this video:
What “Esq.” Means
The title “Esq.” (short for “Esquire”) is commonly used after a lawyer’s name, both in practice and on business cards. Esq. is a courtesy title that has no real meaning other than indicating that the person is an attorney.
The History of “Esq.”
In the United States, “Esq.” is commonly used as an honorific for lawyers. It is derived from the Old English word “sacerdote,” which referred to a priest or other religious figure. Over time, the word “sacerdote” evolved into its Latin form, “sacerdos,” and eventually into the French word “esquier.” This word was then brought to England by the Normans, where it eventually became “esquire.”
The use of “Esq.” as an honorific for lawyers began in medieval England. At that time, only members of the nobility were allowed to practice law. As a result, lawyers became known as “esquires” (a rank of nobility below knight). Over time, the use of “Esq.” spread to other English-speaking countries, including the United States.
Today, “Esq.” is used both formally and informally to address lawyers. It is also occasionally used as a general honorific (similar to “Mr.” or “Ms.”) for people who are not lawyers but who are considered to be part of the legal profession (such as law clerks and legal assistants).
How “Esq.” Is Used Today
The term “esquire” (often abbreviated as “esq.”) is used in two ways: as a courtesy title before the surname of a man with a law degree or as a way to refer to a practicing lawyer.
The use of “esquire” as a courtesy title before the surname of a man with a law degree dates back to medieval England. In those days, “esquire” was used as a general term for knights and other gentlemen. Over time, the word came to be associated with lawyers and those who had been trained in the law.
Today, “esquire” is still used as a courtesy title before the surname of some men with law degrees. In addition, it is used as a way to refer to practicing lawyers. When used in this way, “esquire” is usually followed by the lawyer’s full name.
“Esq.” and the Legal Profession
The title “Esq.” is commonly used in the legal profession, but what does it actually mean?
“Esq.” is short for “Esquire,” a term that was originally used to address men of a high social rank. In the United Kingdom, “Esquire” is still used as a title for certain officials, such as magistrates and sheriffs. In the United States, “Esquire” historically referred to men who were members of the landed gentry or upper class. Over time, the use of “Esquire” as a title became increasingly common among lawyers.
The use of “Esq.” as a title for lawyers is controversial, and some people argue that it should be abandoned altogether. Nevertheless, it remains in common use, particularly in formal correspondence and on legal documents.
“Esq.” and Other Professional Titles
Esq. is short for the word “Esquire.” An Esquire is someone who has been admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction. The title “Esquire” is used in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and Australia.
In the United States, esquire is used as a title for lawyer by some state bar associations. For example, the State Bar of California and the New York State Bar Association use esquire in their respective names. In these cases, it is usually annual to put Esq. after an attorney’s name on formal correspondence. However, not all states use esquire as a title for lawyers—some use attorney at law or just attorney. And some states have no preferred title for lawyers whatsoever.
In addition to esquire, there are a few other professional titles that are commonly used today:
-Attorney: This title is used interchangeably with lawyer in many states. It is also used to refer to someone who has been admitted to practice law in another jurisdiction but not in the United States. For example, an attorney from England might be referred to as an English attorney or a foreign attorney.
-Counselor at law: This title is less common than it once was but can still be seen in some older legal documents and correspondence.
-Notary public: A notary public is someone who has been appointed by a state government to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths. In some states, notaries are also allowed to perform wedding ceremonies.
-Judge: A judge is a public official who presides over court proceedings and renders decisions on legal cases.
“Esq.” and Social Media
The title “Esquire” is derived from the Old French word “esquier,” which meant “shield bearer” or “cavalier.” In medieval England, esquires were young noblemen who acted as attendants to knights. Over time, the title began to be used by lawyers and other professionals.
In the United States, “Esquire” is commonly used as a courtesy title for male attorneys. It can be used before or after the attorney’s name, but it is more commonly used after the name. For example, you might see an attorney’s name followed by “JD, MBA, LLM, Esq.”
Female attorneys can also use the title “Esquire,” but it is less common. When women do use the title “Esquire,” they typically use it after their name rather than before their name.
You may also see the title “Esquire” used on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. It is generally considered appropriate to use the title “Esquire” on social media platforms if you are an attorney who uses the title in your professional life.
“Esq.” and Business Cards
The title “Esq.” is often used informally to refer to a lawyer, and it may be used on business cards, in email signatures, and on letterhead. The use of “Esq.” is short for “Esquire,” which is a title that has been used in English since the Middle Ages. Historically, “Esquire” was a title used to denote someone who was a member of the English gentry or someone who could afford to purchase a suit of armor. Over time, the meaning of “Esquire” evolved to refer to someone who is qualified to bear arms, and eventually the word came to be associated with lawyers.
In the United States, the title “Esq.” can only be used by attorneys who are licensed to practice law in that state. In some states, such as California, use of the title “Esq.” is regulated by the State Bar and use of the title by non-attorneys may be considered unauthorized practice of law. In other states, such as New York, there are no specific regulations regarding use of the title “Esq.,” but the State Bar suggests that non-attorneys avoid using it.
If you are an attorney in the United States and you would like to use the title “Esq.” on your business card or email signature, you should check with your state bar association to see if there are any restrictions on its use
“Esq.” and Email Signatures
The suffix “Esq.” is short for “Esquire,” and it is used as a courtesy title for someone who is a member of the legal profession. In the United States, the title is generally used by lawyers who are in private practice. In other countries, “Esq.” may be used by barristers or solicitors.
The use of “Esq.” in email signatures has become increasingly popular, even among lawyers who are not in private practice. While there is no hard and fast rule about using “Esq.” in an email signature, some etiquette experts recommend using the title only if your email address includes your full name.
If you are a lawyer who is in private practice, you may want to include “Esq.” in your email signature to make it clear that you are a member of the legal profession. However, you should be aware that some people find the use of “Esq.” in email signatures to be pretentious or unnecessary.
“Esq.” and Personal Branding
The title “Esq.” is short for “Esquire,” and it is a title that is often used by lawyers. While the use of “Esq.” is not required by any legal authority, many lawyers choose to use it as part of their personal branding.
The title “Esq.” can be used in a number of ways, but it is most commonly seen as part of a lawyer’s signature on legal documents or correspondence. In some cases, lawyers may also include “Esq.” after their name on business cards or in email signatures.
While the use of “Esq.” is not required, it can be seen as a way to signify that someone is a lawyer and to add an air of professionalism to their personal brand.
“Esq.” and the Future
The use of “Esq.” after a lawyer’s name is on the decline, but it’s still seen occasionally. Here’s what it means and where it came from.