Esquire (abbreviated Esq. ) is a term denoting social status. Always rather vague in its extent, the term carries little social distinction today outside of the United States. Within the U. S. , its use as a postnominal honorific is to indicate licensed attorneys. An attorney at law (or attorney-at-law) in the United States is a practitioner in a court of law who is legally qualified to prosecute
The term is British in origin. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Ultimately deriving from the medieval squires who assisted knights, the term came to be used automatically by men of gentle birth. In Feudal or Medieval times a squire was a Man-at-arms in the service of a Knight, often as his Apprentice. Knight is the English term for a social position originating in the Middle Ages. Gentry generally refers to people of high Social class, especially in the past Thus use of the word postnominally represented nothing more than the claim to be a gentleman. The term gentleman (from Latin gentilis, belonging to a race or "gens" and "man" Cognate with the French word gentilhomme More specifically, though, a distinction was made between men of the upper and lower gentry, who were "esquires" and "gentlemen" respectively (between, for example, "Thomas Smith, Esq. " and "William Jones, Gent. "). A late example of this distinction is in the list of subscribers to The History of Elton, by the Rev. Rose Fuller Whistler, published in 1882, which clearly distinguishes between subscribers designated "Mr" (another way of indicating gentlemen) and those allowed "Esquire. "
Thus, practically speaking, the term "esquire" may be appended to the name of any man not possessing a higher title (such as that of knighthood or peerage) or a clerical one. Knight is the English term for a social position originating in the Middle Ages. The Peerage is a system of Titles of Nobility in the United Kingdom, part of the British honours system. In practice, however, "esquire" in the US is most commonly used by lawyers in a professional capacity; it has come to be associated by many Americans solely with the legal profession. A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law as an attorney, Counsel or Solicitor; a person
Regardless of whom it is applied to, the term "Esq. " should not be used when talking about oneself, or in directly addressing somebody else. Rather, it is used in third-person contexts, such as envelope addresses.
In eras when great importance was attached to social status, tables of precedence were drawn to determine its precise hierarchy. An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance of items Beginning with royalty and continuing down through officers of state, church dignitaries, the nobility and knights, they invariably concluded with common or garden Esquires and Gentlemen, in that order. (It was presumed that everybody at a social event where precedence was relevant would be at least a gentleman. ) Until the 19th century, tables of precedences further distinguished between "esquires by birth" and "esquires by office" (and likewise for "gentlemen").
But the precise limits of these vague terms were never easy to determine. Some authors attempted to draw up guidelines distinguishing "esquires" from "gentlemen".
According to one typical definition, esquires included:
However, formal definitions such as these were proposed because there was, in reality, no fixed criterion distinguishing those designated 'Esquire': it was essentially a matter of impression as to whether a person qualified for this status. Knight is the English term for a social position originating in the Middle Ages. The Peerage is a system of Titles of Nobility in the United Kingdom, part of the British honours system. Letters patent are a type of Legal instrument in the form of an Open letter issued by a Monarch or Government, granting an office right A Justice of the Peace ( JP) is a Puisne Judicial officer appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace Throughout the Commonwealth realms The Crown is an abstract metonymic concept which represents the legal authority for the existence of any government The royal sign manual is the formal name given in the United Kingdom to the autograph signature of the Sovereign The Armed forces of the United Kingdom, commonly known as the British Armed Forces or Her Majesty's Armed Forces, and sometimes legally the Armed Forces The British Army is the land armed forces branch of the British Armed Forces. A barrister is a Lawyer found in many Common law Jurisdictions that employ a split profession (as opposed to a Fused profession) in relation A "solicitor" is a term used in many Common law jurisdictions for a lawyer who offers legal services outside of the courts The University of Oxford (informally "Oxford University" or simply "Oxford" located in the city of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England is the The University of Cambridge (often Cambridge University) located in Cambridge, England, is the second-oldest university in the William Segar, Garter King of Arms (the senior officer of arms at the College of Arms), wrote in 1602: "And who so can make proofe, that his Ancestors or himselfe, have had Armes, or can procure them by purchase, may be called Armiger or Esquier. Sir William Segar (in or before 1564&ndash1633 was a Portrait painter and Officer of arms to the court of Elizabeth I of England who became Garter Principal King of Arms is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms. An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or State with authority to perform one or more of the following functions to control and initiate The College of Arms, or Heralds' College, is an office regulating Heraldry and granting new Armorial bearings for England, Wales " Honor military, and civill (1602; lib. 4, cap. 15, p. 228). (By Armes he referred to a coat of arms; it is not clear from this quotation whether Segar made a distinction between esquires and gentlemen. A coat of arms or armorial bearings (often just arms for short in European tradition is a design belonging to a particular person (or group of people )
The breadth of Esquire (as Esq. ) had become universal in the United Kingdom by the late 20th century, for example being applied by some banks to all men who did not have a grander title. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Although the College of Arms continues to restrict use of the word Esquire in official grants of arms to a limited set (smaller even than that outlined by the list above), it uses the term Esquire without restriction in addressing correspondence. The College of Arms, or Heralds' College, is an office regulating Heraldry and granting new Armorial bearings for England, Wales Many people in the United Kingdom no longer perceive any distinction between "Mr" and "Esquire" at all and so, for practical purposes and in everyday usage, there is no such distinction.
Although 'Esquire' is the English translation of the French 'Ecuyer', the latter indicated legal membership in the nobilities of ancien régime France and contemporaneous Belgium, whereas an esquire belongs to the British gentry rather than to its nobility. Ancien Régime ( pronounced: /ɑ̃sjɛ̃ ʁeʒim/ refers primarily to the aristocratic social and political system established in Gentry generally refers to people of high Social class, especially in the past Nobility is a government-privileged title which may be either hereditary (see Hereditary titles) or for a lifetime
Modern UK Usage: To be used with the name in initial format - e. g. S. J. Hooper, Esq. - it is still used by many offices of the Chairman in business and also many traditional carriage trade businesses such as Christie's and Berry Bros. & Rudd. This rather old-fashioned usage is generally employed to imply that the addressee would be of the gentry by the mere fact of the sender's interaction when addressing those without another, higher, rank or title. British men invited to Buckingham Palace receive their invitations in an envelope with the suffix 'Esq' after their names while men of foreign nationalities instead have the prefix 'Mr' (women are addressed as 'Miss', 'Ms', or 'Mrs'). Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. The same practice applies for other post from the palace (e. g. to employees etc. ). 
In the United States the suffix "Esq. " is most commonly encountered in use among individuals licensed to practice law. In its most general sense the practice of law involves giving Legal advice to clients drafting legal documents for clients and representing clients in legal Negotiations Although the origins and traditional usage of "esquire" limited its application to men, this more recent usage is frequently applied to both male and female lawyers.
As a matter of custom, the suffix "Esq. " is not used when referring to sitting judges, who are "members of the bench" rather than "members of the bar", and are prohibited from practicing law in most United States jurisdictions. A judge, or justice, is an Official who presides over a Court of law Judges will generally assume the prefix "The Honorable" (abbreviated Hon. The prefix The Honourable or The Honorable (abbreviated to " The Hon ) as a title of respect.
The prevalence of "esquire" among lawyers in America is perhaps an echo of its use distinguishing the two kinds of lawyer in English law — barristers were "esquires" while solicitors were simple "gentlemen". A barrister is a Lawyer found in many Common law Jurisdictions that employ a split profession (as opposed to a Fused profession) in relation A "solicitor" is a term used in many Common law jurisdictions for a lawyer who offers legal services outside of the courts
These legal associations in America, although strong, have not completely blotted out the unmarked use of "esquire" in the modern British fashion, as an honorific simply more formal than "Mr". In some states, however, using the term deceptively — in a manner that might lead others to assume you are licensed to practice law in that state — can be used as evidence of unauthorized practice of law. The Law of evidence governs the use of Testimony (eg oral or written statements such as an Affidavit) and exhibits (e In its most general sense the practice of law involves giving Legal advice to clients drafting legal documents for clients and representing clients in legal Negotiations  The term is also sometimes used when addressing naval officers in formal correspondence.
As a form of address "Esq. " is never used with any prenominal form of address, such as Dr. or Mr., nor used in the first person to refer to oneself. Doctor ( gen: doctoris) means teacher in Latin. The word is originally an Agentive noun of the verb docēre ('teach' Thus, it may be used as in the following, namely, "John Smith, Esq. ," but not "Mr. John Smith, Esq. " If one desired to use the prenonimal "Mr. " one could write, for example, "Mr. John Smith" without any postnominal designation. The form of address "Esq. " is used only when the reference is in the third person, such as addressing an envelope or making a formal introduction.
When addressing a person who has an academic degree or other post-nominal professional designation, such as a Certified Public Accountant, a writer may use the post-nominal designation after the "Esq. Certified Public Accountant ( CPA) is the Statutory title of qualified Accountants in the United States who have passed the Uniform " For example, an attorney who is also an accountant could be addressed as "James A. Smith, Esq. , CPA. " Likewise, an attorney who is a Doctor of Medicine could be styled as "Dr. Doctor of Medicine ( MD or MD, from the Latin Medicinæ Doctor meaning "Teacher of Medicine" is a doctoral Samuel B. Jones," or "Samuel B. Jones, Esq. , M. D. ," or, if a holder of both degrees — some states do not require attorneys to hold a J. D. degree in order to practice law — "Samuel B. Jones, Esq. , M. D. , J. D. ," when referred to in the third person, but never "Dr. Samuel B. Jones, Esq. "
Some fraternal groups use the title of "Esquire. " The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks uses the title of "Esquire" for an appointed office position. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks ( BPOE; also often known as the Elks Lodge or simply The Elks) is an American Fraternal order and One appendant body in Freemasonry also uses "Esquire" as a degree title.