Do you ever find yourself admiring the lawyers and other people in the law discipline who are so great with the perplexing terms you may find difficult to understand? Some of the most common and confusing terms are often about a JD and an ESQ. In this article, we’re going to explain the difference between using a JD and an ESQ, and where to use them.

The JD stands for a Juris doctor, while the ESQ stands for an esquire. There is a lot of information between the two terms, which is why if in need, should conduct research. Nevertheless, this guide focuses to reveal all the necessary information about the two terms. Hopefully, we will clear out all your confusion.

What is JD?

JD stands as an acronym of a baccalaureate of Juris doctor. It is also known as the doctor of jurisprudence. The study of law also has several definitions and descriptions of the JD term. There are several types of Doctor of Law degrees. JD is just another one of them.

JD is a Doctor of Law that has a graduate-entry professional baccalaureate in law. It is a very complex degree. Initially, this person needs to get a pregraduate degree first. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be related to the discipline of a lawyer. Once the person graduates, they can continue by taking on the JD program. This degree comes as part of the common law, although it can be achieved through judicial precedent countries.

There’s a special methodology of becoming a JD. The holder of the degree has to take on a special bar exam. In the United States, every bar exam depends on a state or location. That said, the legal career in Texas state would require you to take the bar exam in Texas State.

However, other countries don’t have such requirements. It’d be enough to pass the exam only once to authorize the ranking and profession. Still, different countries have different requirements and specifications. Check the specific country you want to operate within so you can get to know all the requirements of the bar exam and everything that comes afterward. After the exam is passed and certification obtained, JD becomes a suffix to your name.

What is an ESQ

ESQ stands for an Esquire, which is a well-known game in the English language, in the UK region. Throughout history, Esquire became the term that marked individuals who were prestigious and had a high class in society. Additionally, in history, Esquire stood for a knight or a squire.

In the US, the definition is different and has a legal connotation. Lawyers are distincted with this name. When the necessary education has been completed, lawyers receive the Esq title as a suffix to their name which helps identify their occupation. If an individual, John Doe is a lawyer, then he’ll be listed as John Doe Esq. That way the public will know of their profession. This postfix exists regardless of a person’s sex, meaning both men and women can have it.

However, using this postfix can be tricky. It’s unlikely that an individual will call themselves an esquire. It’s common that other people will attribute esquire as one. Additionally, this postfix intends to give title only to people who already have the license as an attorney-at-law. However, it’s not an attribution denoted at a law student or a graduate who hasn’t passed the bar exam yet.

Finally, Esq can be used only to address a legal person of law, who have the license to represent the law, rather than a person who only graduated.

Difference Between a JD & an ESQ

Now that we’ve defined the two terms, it’s time to make a difference between the two. A JD is a person who has a legal education and has passed all the exams and earned their degree. However, they don’t have a law license that can represent them as an attorney of law. Additionally, you can’t call yourself an Esq.

While JD means law graduates did pass the bar exam, it’s important to note that it’s only the part of the licensing. An attorney needs to fit morally in order to be called an esquire and get the license. Clients need to have trust in their attorney of law, and esquire ranking proves it.

Related: How Long is Law School

When to use the term?

Titles are just a matter of courtesy and manners. That said, there are no exact rules for using the two titles. If you, for example, are trying to reach out to an attorney, you attribute them as an esquire. However, you still refer to them as Mr. or Ms. in the letter itself. If the letter is of a private nature, then you can just use the Mr. or Ms. Don’t use the two together, however.

The JD goes mainly in academic documents, although it can go after a lawyer’s name. The legal degree for a lawyer is a doctorate, it’s unlikely that’s how you’re going to call them. Many attorneys consider putting Esq title oldfashioned and outdated, so they don’t normally put Esq. after.


While JD and Esq titles are quite different, they are used mainly in similar settings. They can help attribute a lawyer or another sort of a legal counselor. JD counts as a holder of a law degree and practices legal actions. However, on the other hand, an esquire can regulate the law as an attorney.

Still, the placement of the suffixes in the names doesn’t necessarily make any difference in the educational qualification of the individual lawyer. What matters more when choosing a lawyer that can represent you in a legal case is their state bar and/or a license number. That information reveals a person’s true qualifications and shows the previous record. That record shows if there was misconduct or some other inappropriate actions.

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