How to Address an Attorney | Lawyer

For use of Esquire (Esq.) in the U.S. when addressing a lawyer or attorney see Esquire

How to Address a Lawyer in the United States
How to Address an Attorney in the United States

—-Envelope or address block on letter or email on a legal matter:
——–(Full Name), Esq.
——–Name of Firm

—-Social/Personal envelope at all other times:
——–Mr./Ms./etc. (full name)

—-Salutation official & social:
——–Dear Mr./Ms./etc. (surname):

—-Conversation official and social:
——–Mr./Ms./etc. (surname)


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

—-#1) ‘Esquire’, abbreviated ‘Esq.’,  is a courtesy title, and as such is used by others when addressing an attorney regarding a case, which he or she is provides representation. ‘Esq.’ is not used by the attorney with his/her name on letterhead or his/her business card and not used when addressing an attorney socially.

—-#2) Individuals with a Juris Doctor will use the academic post-nominal abbreviation JD or J.D. as part of the official form of their name in academic environments.

—-#3) I get questions asking whether faculty at law schools are addressed as ‘Dr. (Name)’ like their academic colleagues holding doctorates?  In practice, legal faculty are addressed as ‘Mr./Ms. (Name)’ in the style of their practicing legal colleagues.

—-#4) See next post for a lawyer or attorney and spouse (Joint form of Address).

—-#5) Use the social forms above for a retired attorney or lawyer.

– Robert Hickey             How to Address a Lawyer  -or-  How to Address an Attorney


Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

How to Address a Lawyer or Attorney and Spouse?

I have to write to and acknowledge donors for an upcoming community event.
—-#1) A local attorney made a significant contribution, He’s the attorney, she is not.
#2) A married couple ­– both attorneys – made a contribution too.
How to I address the envelopes?
—-—-—-—-– PM, Meeting Coordinator

Dear PM,

—-#1) Husband is an attorney and she is not.
—-—-Attorneys are ‘Mr./Ms. (Name)’. No special honorific. The post nominal ‘Esq.’ is not used in social/personal correspondence. Traditionally, if husband & wife use the same surname they are:

—-—-Mr. and Mrs. (His Full Name)

—-—-Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Nelson

—-Or if she uses another surname, or has a special honorific of her own, she is listed second with her full name.:

—-—-Mr. Thomas Nelson and Ms. Nancy Henderson

—-—-Mr. Thomas Nelson and Dr. Nancy Nelson

—-#2) Both are attorneys? Same forms shown above apply.
If you’d like to read about other options for writing women’s / spouse’s names, follow the link in the list at right to ‘Mrs. vs. Ms.’

– Robert Hickey           How to Address a Lawyer  -or-  How to Address an Attorney


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”