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In the United Statues, 'Esquire' is a honorific that is used to refer to an attorney.

How do you use the word "Esquire"?

~ Random guy

In the United Statues, Esquire is a honorific that is used to refer to an attorney. So, when writing to an lawyer, you may use the title Esquire or the abbreviation Esq. after the lawyers full name. It is a way to be polite, similar to using the title Honorable before the name of a judge or an elected official.

It is OK to use Esquire with both male and female attorneys. Since it is a title, you do not want to use it with another title. For example, Mr. John Q Smith, Esquire would be incorrect because it uses both Mr. and Esquire. Likewise, if you use Esquire or Esq., you should not use further letter designations for educational degrees, like Ph.D. or J.D. Finally, do not use Esquire or Esq. in the salutation of a letter.

Here is an example top portion of a letter showing the correct usage of the title to address a letter to an attorney:

January 21, 2012

John Q. Smith, Esquire
123 Main Street
Anytown, AK

Dear Mr. Smith:

{Letter continues…}

Yours Truly,
Mac N. Tosh

Since the title is honorific, it is not customary for a lawyer to refer to himself or herself using the term Esquire. To be fair, few professions have such a range of titles: attorney, lawyer, attorney-at-law, counselor, esquire, juris doctor, (and in the U.K.) barrister and solicitor. Which title to use depends on the situation. For example, using JD or J.D. would be most appropriate in a context where the degree was relevant, for example, with the publication of a scholarly article. The most common way for a lawyer to refer to himself or herself is with the title Attorney or Attorney-At-Law.

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