esq. (esquire) = lawyer or attorney or both?

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apoziopeza

Senior Member
slovak
Hi,

I looked up in the dictionary that esq. means that you are a lawyer or attorney, and that this abbreviation is used in USA and Britain,

- what is the correct translation of esq. - a lawyer or attorney?

- does esq. include LL.B., LL.M. LL.D, BACHELOR, MASTER AND DOCTOR OF LAWS? or other law titles?

- does esq. have any synonymum used in Europe?

thanks,

A.
 
  • Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    As far as I know, 'Esq.' has nothing to do with specifically being a lawyer.
    It is a rather old-fashioned title of respect which could be used for any man.
    It simply means 'esquire' and neither does it have anything to do with University degrees or qualifications.
    When I was younger, it was common practice to address letters to 'A.B. XXX Esq.' though I would guess that it has fallen out of practice now.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It is not so used in the UK (or Australia). It is sometimes used after lawyers' names in the USA, but very rarely. It has no particular meaning: any lawyer is entitled to it, I believe. There is basically only one grade of lawyer in US jurisdictions, 'attorney'. This is a title that was abolished in the UK in the late 1800s.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    In the United States, Esq may indicate that you are a practicing, qualified lawyer/attourney (there is little to no distinction between those terms), but it can also just be an honorific as it is in other places. To be a lawyer/attourney, you must have at least a J.D. (doctorate).
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Esquire doesn't principally indicate that the holder is a lawyer. In the USA some lawyers, by custom, take on this style of themselves. It is used in this way by both men and women. It has no official status (in the way that attorney-at-law or solicitor does) and is not granted by any authority. Anyone may put Esq. after their name, even in the USA, as long as (in the USA) they do not intend by its use to claim that they are qualified to practice law when they are not.

    In the UK it is mostly just an honorific conferring no particular status, and it only applies to men. It was once used by barristers (broadly, lawyers who make representations in court), and I wonder if this is where the US usage springs from.

    There is an article on this word in Wikipedia, which goes into the details of the word's usage in various parts of the world. There is quite a bit about the US legal usage.
     

    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    In the United States, one does not have to be a lawyer or an attorney; the terms are not mutually exclusive. Certainly in popular usage, outside the realm of legal and judicial personnel, they are for all practical purposes synonyms: an attorney is a lawyer and a lawyer is an attorney. There might be some legal documents in which one or the other term is required. There are a variety of other distinctions among lawyers and attorneys that are meaningful only to them.

    I don't think that "Esquire" could apply to anybody, as an earlier poster asserted. "Squires" were large English landholders. Most of the rural land in England was (and is) owned by a small number of families; many substantial farms, whose farmers were comfortable if not wealthy, were leased or rented. However, I think only a land owner could be called, or call himself, a "squire" and attach "Esq." to his name, at least by custom if not by law. It would take someone better versed than I in English history to know whether there were statutory definitions of who was and was not a "squire."
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    While there are conventions as to can call themselves squire, the rather antiquated British convention is or was:
    To address someone
    Mr Bloggs
    Mrs Bloggs
    these would be the parents
    Mr Frederic Bloggs
    Mrs Frederic Bloggs
    (the older son and his wife)
    Miss Bloggs
    (the elder daughter)
    Miss Amelia Bloggs
    (the younger daughter)

    To write a letter to either the father or the son one would use
    J Bloggs esq (the father)
    F Bloggs esq (the son)

    No particular rank or qualification is denoted.
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    In the United States, one does not have to be a lawyer or an attorney; the terms are not mutually exclusive. Certainly in popular usage, outside the realm of legal and judicial personnel, they are for all practical purposes synonyms: an attorney is a lawyer and a lawyer is an attorney. There might be some legal documents in which one or the other term is required. There are a variety of other distinctions among lawyers and attorneys that are meaningful only to them.

    I don't think that "Esquire" could apply to anybody, as an earlier poster asserted. "Squires" were large English landholders. Most of the rural land in England was (and is) owned by a small number of families; many substantial farms, whose farmers were comfortable if not wealthy, were leased or rented. However, I think only a land owner could be called, or call himself, a "squire" and attach "Esq." to his name, at least by custom if not by law. It would take someone better versed than I in English history to know whether there were statutory definitions of who was and was not a "squire."
    You're correct as to the historical origin of the term 'Esquire', but as djmc says, in BrE it became a common way of addressing men when writing letters.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    In the US, "Esq." it is a rather old-fashioned term of respect that may be used in addressing a practicing attorney (that is, in addressing a postal envelope or the inside address on a letter). A lawyer does not append it to his or her own name (if the lawyer appends any designation it is the law degree earned, usually LL.B. or J.D.; it varies with the law school). In order to practice, a lawyer must pass a state examination, after earning a law degree.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    When I was younger, it was common practice to address letters to 'A.B. XXX Esq.' though I would guess that it has fallen out of practice now.
    Not quite yet. My Scottish bank still addresses me as [First name] [Initial] [Last name], Esq.

    I'm no Lord, Laird or land owner!
     
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