Why Lawyers Are Called Esquire: Meaning, Origin and Reasons

Why Lawyers Are Called Esquire: Meaning, Origin and Reasons. In This Article, You Will find Out The Reasons Why Lawyers Are Called Esquire.

Why Lawyers Are Called Esquire. Have you also ever wondered why this name is used for lawyers? What is the real reason behind it? A man or woman’s surname is typically followed by the unofficial title of “Esquire,” which is a mark of respect. As an illustration,  Vivian Martin James Esq.

Well, we will be discussing all about that in this short article . So, keep reading to find out why!

Why Lawyers Are Called Esquire

Why Lawyers Are Called Esquire: Meaning

Simply put, an esquire is a person who is permitted to practice law in American legal terminology. No matter what kind of law they practice, any attorney can adopt the title of esquire. Esquire may be used as a title by corporate lawyers, family lawyers, and personal injury attorneys.

Generally speaking, a lawyer cannot use the term “esquire” until after they have completed law school and passed the state bar exam, granting them the ability to practice law in that particular state. The law graduate may append the acronym J.D., for Juris Doctor, to their name after graduating from law school but before passing the bar exam.

Why Lawyers Are Called Esquire: Origin of The Word “Esquire”

The word came about from the Latin word “Scutum,” which means “shield,” and was later translated into the old French word “Esquier,” which means “shield bearer.”

Its origins can be found in the Middle Ages, when men of higher social status, especially those belonging to the landed gentry—landowners who were above the gentlemanly rank but below the knightly rank—were given this title of respect. This was defined by the Blacks Law Dictionary, which said that the title “Esquire” denotes the rank of a man who is superior to a gentleman but beneath a knight.

The term “Esquire” has a lengthy history of usage, spanning from men of high social standing to other mid-level dignitaries such as sheriffs, sergeants, justices of the peace, and barristers at law. As a result, it grew in popularity in the legal profession starting in the 20th century.

Why Lawyers Are Called Esquire

The term “esquire” was originally used to refer to dignitaries such as justices of peace and barristers And as a result, it came to be exclusively associated with lawyers during that era. The Association of the Bar of the City of New York’s Ethnics committee claims that during that period, it was customary to assume that a person was a lawyer if their title came after their name. As a result, lawyers began using the term “esquire.”

Furthermore, since lawyers in the United States of America at the time lacked a professional title, Esquire was adopted and kept as a sign of professional standing. For instance, lawyers had no title, but doctors had titles like Dr., Reverend, and REV.

It was an easy decision for lawyers because there was no title for them and no professional organization was using the title “Esquire” at the time.

Furthermore, the title “Esquire” was thought to be a perfect fit for the legal profession because it is a symbol of respect, courtesy, and appreciation. The above were the reasons for the creation and usage of this word for lawyers.

FAQs About Why Lawyers Are Called Esquire: Meaning, Origin and Reasons

1. Esquire meaning lawyer?

To put it plainly, the title Esq. denotes the ability to practice law in the state. Generally speaking, it indicates that the person in question completed law school and is aware of their state’s laws because they passed the bar exam.

2. When can you use esquire” after your name?

In the legal field, “esquire” is a professional title rather than a social title. In your correspondence with an attorney, you can choose between:

Use a common courtesy title when writing to the person, such as “Mr. Robert Jones” or “Ms. Cynthia Adams.”
Eliminate the courtesy title and follow the name with “Esquire,” using the shorter version of “Esq.” For example, “Robert Jones, Esq.” or “Cynthia Adams, Esq.”

3. Meaning of Esq in Nigeria?

To simply put it, the title Esq. denotes the ability to practice law in the state

4. Esquire Vs attorney, what is the difference?

The terms “esquire” and “attorney at law” are interchangeable, so there is no distinction between them. Just like esquire, attorneys are also practicing attorneys. The only distinction is that while the term “attorney at law” is still frequently used, the title “esquire” is no longer used.

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5. Esquire meaning woman?

While the term “esquire” now refers to both male and female attorneys, historically it was only used for men (there is no equivalent term for women).


In conclusion, the title “Esquire” has been used for centuries to denote respect for lawyers.   Regardless of place of birth, level of education, or level of professional accomplishment. The title was frequently applied to anyone who might be significant in the 18th century.

The term, which was coined by American professionals, is typically reserved for people who have successfully completed their state’s bar examination.

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