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pinky12

What's in a name?

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Hello.  Is there a difference, however slight, between the positions of "counsellor", "lawyer" and "attorney" ?  One JD offered up that a consellor counsels his/her client on what to do, the other two (lawyer/atty) are interchangeable.  That was not very enlightening.   And does 'Esquire" fit into this discussion at all?  If it matters on this question, the state is Connecticut.  Thank you.

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No, not a homework assignment.  Just came up in a layman's conversation and so I thought I'd pose the question to those in the know.  I enjoy reading Findlaw answers for entertainment sake and figured this would be a good place to ask the question.  Am just curious if the three/four words are interchangeable or if there is a nuance of difference. 

 

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Hello.  Is there a difference, however slight, between the positions of "counsellor", "lawyer" and "attorney" ?

 

"Lawyer" and "attorney" are synonymous.  "Counselor" is also sometimes used in reference to an attorney, but it obviously has other meanings (that I think are a little more common).  It's a little like asking what the difference is between a "car" and an "auto."

 

 

 

One JD offered up that a consellor counsels his/her client on what to do, the other two (lawyer/atty) are interchangeable.  That was not very enlightening.

 

I agree.  Indeed, it's downright stupid to think that lawyers/attorneys don't give counsel to their clients.

 

 

 

And does 'Esquire" fit into this discussion at all?

 

"Esquire" is more of an honorific that some lawyers put at the end of their names (somewhat akin to what doctors do with "M.D." or "Ph.D") -- e.g., "F. Lee Bailey, Esq."  It is a bit archaic, is becoming less and less common, and some lawyers (such as myself) refuse to use it because it conveys a sense of arrogance or superiority.  It also has some other usages, which are very uncommon in the U.S.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esquire

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"Lawyer" and "attorney" are synonymous.  "Counselor" is also sometimes used in reference to an attorney, but it obviously has other meanings (that I think are a little more common).  It's a little like asking what the difference is between a "car" and an "auto."

 

 

 

 

I agree.  Indeed, it's downright stupid to think that lawyers/attorneys don't give counsel to their clients.

 

 

 

 

"Esquire" is more of an honorific that some lawyers put at the end of their names (somewhat akin to what doctors do with "M.D." or "Ph.D") -- e.g., "F. Lee Bailey, Esq."  It is a bit archaic, is becoming less and less common, and some lawyers (such as myself) refuse to use it because it conveys a sense of arrogance or superiority.  It also has some other usages, which are very uncommon in the U.S.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esquire

 

Agree that "esquire" is an honorific. Not sure it is used less and less, though. For what it's worth, I was taught that, when writing a letter to another attorney, you addressed the letter to "Ms. Jane Doe, Esq." as a common courtesy; however, you would never bestow the honorific on yourself by, for instance, closing the letter with "Your Name, Esq." or printing business cards with "Your Name, Esq."  That was considered tacky, at least in the Old South.

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Agree that "esquire" is an honorific. Not sure it is used less and less, though. For what it's worth, I was taught that, when writing a letter to another attorney, you addressed the letter to "Ms. Jane Doe, Esq." as a common courtesy; however, you would never bestow the honorific on yourself by, for instance, closing the letter with "Your Name, Esq." or printing business cards with "Your Name, Esq."  That was considered tacky, at least in the Old South.

 

I'm sure usage is regional, and I'm about as far from the "Old South" as one can get.  I don't think I've ever used "Esq." for anyone including myself; nor do I put "Mr." or "Ms." (or "Mrs." or "Miss") in an address header.

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Agree that "esquire" is an honorific. Not sure it is used less and less, though. For what it's worth, I was taught that, when writing a letter to another attorney, you addressed the letter to "Ms. Jane Doe, Esq." as a common courtesy; however, you would never bestow the honorific on yourself by, for instance, closing the letter with "Your Name, Esq." or printing business cards with "Your Name, Esq."  That was considered tacky, at least in the Old South.

 

Not just the Old South. That has been considered the general rule of etiquette in most of the legal communities in which I’ve practiced, though I note that it appears that young attorneys are less inclined to use any titles when writing other attorneys, whether it’s esquire or simply Mr. or Ms. I think that comes from the informality associated with the most common form of communication they grew up with: e-mail. In an e-mail, use of the type of formality found in a letter can seem a bit stuffy. It also varies from place to place, too. When writing letters, I use the more formal sorts of address for the recipient of the letter, with e-mail, I tend to be less formal. 

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