How to Use Esquire or Esq.

Writing Esq. How to Use Esquire or Esq.

Esq., an abbreviation for Esquire, in never used with another title or post-nominal abbreviations before or after the name.  It is not used by the attorney with their own name.  

—–Correct: How to Use Esquire or Esq.
—–—–(Full Name), Esq.

—–All of these are incorrect:
—–—–Mr. (Full Name), Esq.
—–—–Dr. (Full Name), Esq.
—–—–(Full Name), JD, Esq.
—–—–(Full Name), Esq., MBA

How to Use Esquire or Esq.

An attorney should use attorney at law with his or her own name – not Esq.  See more about the tradition in the post Use of Esq. with Your Own Name in the USA“.

See Also These Related Posts:
How to Address an Attorney 
Use of Post-nominal Abbreviations


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

Use of Esq. with Your Own Name in the USA

I am not sure if I should write my name followed by:
—-Esq., J.D.
—-Esq., Dr.
—-Dr., Esq.
Any help would be appreciated.
—-—-—-– Kenneth Millard   How to Use Esquire or Esq.

I am an attorney and I do not use Esq. following my surname. Although I am a practicing attorney, it strikes me that to insert the Esq. would project a self-importance I do not feel. What’s the traditional way to use Esq.?
—-—-—-– Robert Simpson

Dear Mr. Millard & Mr. Simpson:
In the much of the U.S.’s public’s mind Esq. is used after a name to identify a lawyer in exactly the same way M.D. and other post-nominals that identifies one as a physician. But in fact, they are not equivalent.


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

The traditional use of Esq. is in the U.S.A. is for others to add it to the attorney’s name when writing to a practicing attorney (e.g., on and envelope or on a letter) to note/specify that the attorney is being addressed in his or her role as counsel in litigation / as professional representation in a legal matter. E.g.:

—-Kenneth Millard, Esq.

Use of Esq. is important among the ethics rules of the legal profession which require communications from an attorney (on one side) be with the opposing side’s attorney rather than directly with the opposing side. By addressing the other side’s attorney as Esq., the person initiating the communication is being clear that he or she is following correct procedure.

However, traditionally Esq. is not used reflexively … that is, one does not call oneself an Esq. or present one’s name on letterhead or business card with Esq.  following one’s name.  Thus, on a business card or letterhead names of the principals, partners, associates, are be presented without post nominals:

—-Kenneth Millard
—-Attorney at Law

J.D. is most often used in academic contexts. If you are the author of an article that’s published in an academic journal or teach at a university and are listed in the catalog, then using your specific academic degree is pertinent and traditional:

—-Kenneth Millard, J.D.  

And finally: Esq. and J.D. are not used in combination.  It is very, very, very rare for a person holding a J.D. to want to be addressed as ‘Dr. (Name)’.  Dr. is not used after an attorney’s name in any circumstance.

—-—-—-– Robert Hickey  How to Use Esquire or Esq.


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

Is ‘Esquire’ Used with Academic Degrees?

I live in the U.S., am a registered pharmacist – D.Ph. and I have a Juris Doctor – J.D.: I am a member of my State Bar Association so I believe I may use Esq.  Can I use Esquire after my name along with my D.Ph.?
————– RD

What is the correct order for Esq. among professional post-nominal abbreviations?  Last?   The other degree I want to include is J.D.
————– MB

Dear RD and MB:

—-#1) Others will address you as  (Full Name), Esq. when they are addressing you in reference to legal matter in which you are providing counsel.

—-#2) Post-nominals for academic degrees are not used with Esq.

—-#3) Esq. is not an abbreviation for an academic degree, so it is not part of the official form of one’s name.

—-#4) Use J.D. after your name only in academic settings.

– Robert Hickey   How to Use Esquire or Esq.


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”