Esquire Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Esquire, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Esquire?

n. a form of address showing that someone is an attorney, usually written Albert Pettifog, Esquire, or simply Esq. Originally in England an Esquire was a rank just above “gentleman” and below “knight.” It became a title for barristers, sheriffs and judges.

History and Meaning of Esquire

The term "Esquire" originated in England as a title that was just above the social status of a gentleman but below that of a knight. It was used as a form of address for men who were of high social standing and indicated that they were entitled to bear coat armor. Eventually, the term became associated with the legal profession, particularly with attorneys or barristers. In the United States, "Esquire" is often used as a professional designation for attorneys.

Examples of Esquire

  1. John Smith, Esq. represented the defendant in the case.
  2. The law firm of Johnson and Johnson, Esqs. specializes in immigration law.
  3. Mary Johnson, Esq. will be speaking at the legal conference next month.

Legal Terms Similar to Esquire

  1. Juris Doctor (JD): The degree required to become a lawyer in the United States.
  2. Attorney at Law: A lawyer who is licensed to practice law and represent clients in legal matters.
  3. Counselor: A term used to refer to lawyers in some jurisdictions.