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If you are not in the law department, but are a lawyer, can you identify yourself as “Esq.”?

Here is the stumper of the day, a devilish question submitted to Gertrude Block, who writes a column called “Language Tips that appears in the NYSBA J., Vol. 80, Feb. 2008 at 54.

“Isn’t it incorrect for a lawyer who is not a member of the corporate law department of the corporation, but who was hired by the human resources department as vice-president of compliance, to send out memoranda and e-mails both internally and externally, identifying himself as “Esq.?””

The esteemed Ms. Block, a lecturer emerita at the University of Florida College of Law, deferred to her readers as she feels this is “a matter of professional etiquette.” My take is that this is a matter of personal enmity.

I implore all of you who are compelled to answer this thoughtful and important inquiry not to flood my email but to await developments on this breaking story.

Rees Morrison, Esq.

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