How to Sign Esq After Your Name

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The term "Esquire," according to both the New York City Bar Association and Merriam-Webster Dictionary, simply means an office below that of a knight. The term is used to denote respect and has no precise significance. In the U.S., the initials "Esq." often follows the name of a licensed attorney. There is no official rule however that excludes others from using the denotation after their name, but socially in the U.S. and in the opinion of the New York City Bar Association the initials are reserved for licensed attorneys acting in a legal capacity.

  • Graduate from law school, pass the state bar exam and become licensed as an attorney in your state. In the U.S., it is socially unacceptable to use the initials "Esq." before being licensed as an attorney.

  • Write your full name on the signature line of a paper or electronic document in which you are giving a legal opinion, advice or in some way acting in a legal capacity. Don't include the titles Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss before your name.

  • Place a comma after your last name (e.g., John Smith,).

  • Place the initials "Esq." after the comma. Only capitalize the "E" and include a period after the "q" (e.g., John Smith, Esq.).

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