Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Meaning Of "Esquire"

The Review Department of the California State Bar Court has recommended disbarment of an attorney who engaged in unauthorized practice of law while on disciplinary suspension.

The suspended attorney had referred to himself with the honorific "Esq." and as an attorney on pro se pleadings in court cases. The Review Department rejected his claim that he could do so (and refer to his "Law Offices" ) when representing himself.

He also had represented a corporation while suspended.

The attorney contended that "the word 'Esquire' has many meanings, including that of property owner and subscriber to the magazine Esquire."

 The Review Board called the argument "unconvincing." When the honorific appears after his name in pleadings and in letters to opposing counsel, it referred to his purported attorney status. (Mike Frisch)

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

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The origin of the title of Esquire was originally as a candidate for kinghthood, the "apprentice" who learned from a knight and undertook the tasks of looking after the horses of the knight (or higher rank when the usual appellation was "Page") The Esquire would serve a term of undermined length and, upon being found worthy, was knighted. It was purely a male title which is why I was surprised to see its use by female attorneys when the appellation was first introduced in the USA. I suppose that the profession wished to make itself noted as such as the medical profession had already taken upon itself the almost universal title of Doctor (even in countries in which the qualifications were two bachelors degrees, one in medicine and one in surgery).

Posted by: Prof Anthony Eaton | Aug 22, 2012 10:21:58 PM

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