It is a short for Esquire, a term coined in Britain for the nobles in the 14th century. It is still used in various capacities by Lords and Earls. Lawyers in the United States also use this term with their names quite often. It is used as a suffix. Lawyers do not refer to each other with Esq. and generally it is done by the people not related with the field of law.
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It is an equivalent of PhD in law. It is a term that is used by lawyers within the academic and law circles and rarely used elsewhere. It needs a person to complete formal education and make his or her contribution to the field of law as per the requirement of the program. It is generally also used by lawyers when they write in journals of law on various matters in the field.
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