How to Address an Attorney | Lawyer

For use of Esquire (Esq.) in the U.S. when addressing a lawyer or attorney see Esquire

How to Address a Lawyer in the United States
How to Address an Attorney in the United States

—-Envelope or address block on letter or email on a legal matter:
——–(Full Name), Esq.
——–Name of Firm
——–(Address)

—-Social/Personal envelope at all other times:
——–Mr./Ms. (Full Name)
——–(Address)

—-Salutation official & social:
——–Dear Mr./Ms. (Surname):

—-Conversation official and social:
——–Mr./Ms. (Surname)

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

—-#1) ‘Esquire’, abbreviated ‘Esq.’,  is a courtesy title, and as such is used by others when addressing an attorney regarding a case, which he or she is provides representation. ‘Esq.’ is not used by the attorney with his/her name on letterhead or his/her business card and not used when addressing an attorney socially.

—-#2) Individuals with a Juris Doctor will use the academic post-nominal abbreviation JD or J.D. as part of the official form of their name in academic environments.

—-#3) I get questions asking whether faculty at law schools are addressed as ‘Dr. (Name)’ like their academic colleagues holding doctorates?  In practice, legal faculty are addressed as ‘Mr./Ms. (Name)’ in the style of their practicing legal colleagues.

—-#4) See next post for a lawyer or attorney and spouse (Joint form of Address).

—-#5) Use the social forms above for a retired attorney or lawyer.

– Robert Hickey             How to Address a Lawyer  -or-  How to Address an Attorney

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

How to Address a Lawyer or Attorney and Spouse?

I have to write to and acknowledge donors for an upcoming community event.
—-#1) A local attorney made a significant contribution, He’s the attorney, she is not.
#2) A married couple ­– both attorneys – made a contribution too.
How to I address the envelopes?
—-—-—-—-– PM, Meeting Coordinator

Dear PM,

—-#1) Husband is an attorney and she is not.
—-—-Attorneys are ‘Mr./Ms. (Name)’. No special honorific. The post nominal ‘Esq.’ is not used in social/personal correspondence. Traditionally, if husband & wife use the same surname they are:

—-—-Mr. and Mrs. (His Full Name)
—-—-(Address)

—-—-Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Nelson
—-—-(Address)

—-Or if she uses another surname, or has a special honorific of her own, she is listed second with her full name.:

—-—-Mr. Thomas Nelson and Ms. Nancy Henderson
—-—-(Address)

—-—-Mr. Thomas Nelson and Dr. Nancy Nelson
—-—-(Address)

—-#2) Both are attorneys? Same forms shown above apply.
If you’d like to read about other options for writing women’s / spouse’s names, follow the link in the list at right to ‘Mrs. vs. Ms.’

– Robert Hickey           How to Address a Lawyer  -or-  How to Address an Attorney

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"