Esq is a designation for lawyers who have completed law school, written and passed the bar exams and have been duly licensed to practice law, whiles JD, refers only to a graduate of law school.

The legal profession is pregnant with jargons and whether you’re looking at a career as a lawyer or you’re merely curious why lawyers use esquire after name or why others use JD after name, this article on Esq vs JD will be useful to you.

To understand why some lawyers use Esquire (Esq.) after their name while others use Juris Doctor (JD) after their name, one must first know the meaning of Esquire and Meaning of JD.

Esquire meaning

The contemporary use of Esquire refers to a practicing lawyer who has graduated from law school, passed the bar exam and has been called to the bar. The title esquire takes it’s root from English gentry rankings and refers to a respected male who ranks above a gentleman but understudies a knight, in the hope to become one.

What does JD stand for?

JD, is the abbreviation for Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence. It is a title earned when one successfully graduates from law school with a degree but haven’t written the bar exam or passed same. Such a person can have JD after name but aren’t permitted to use Esq after name because they haven’t been called to the bar.

Esq vs JD

The difference between Esq and JD is that Esq is the title used after name of a lawyer or attorney who has been called to the bar and has a license to practice law while JD is the title of a lawyer who has only graduated from law school but hasn’t been called to the bar.

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When to use esquire

The title is usually used in official communication between lawyers and can be used as a courtesy title.

To write the name of a lawyer in the appropriate way, write their full name first, follow that with a comma and then add Esq. example: Joseph Anthon, Esq.

it is inappropriate to use courtesy titles such as Mr. and Mrs. before a lawyer’s name when you’re going to add Esq. at the end. Example: Joseph Anthon, Esq.¬†instead of¬†Mr. Joseph Anthon, Esq.

Esquire vs Lawyer

The differences between esquire and a lawyer lies in the definition of a lawyer vs Attorney. while the two terms are used interchangeably, a lawyer is a graduate of a law school who is yet to be called to the bar while an attorney is a practicing lawyer who has been called to the bar.

Therefore it can be said that an Esquire is a practicing lawyer and a member of the bar in the appropriate jurisdiction while a Lawyer is a law graduate.

Can Lawyers use Dr. in name?

Even though a law degree is a doctorate, it is unusual to address a lawyer by Dr. Some lawyers are even shying away from being addressed as esquire as they consider same as outmoded.

History of Esquire title

Esquire is an English gentry ranking title which was adopted by the legal profession with the advent of common law in England.