Absolutely it can as this commercial from the 2015 Council race illustrates, just ask Chris Roberts:
Slabbed was promised via back channels that an arrest would be made in the matter of Supervisor Bo Ladner getting clocked by a tire iron to the head but nothing has happened except for crickets chirping. Its been well over a month since Ladner landed in the hospital.
The answer to that depends on the state in which you live and is incredibly nuanced. For example back in the 1990s the City New York Bar Association Ethics Committee found the term esquire, over time referred “commonly and exclusively” to lawyers. That same committee also found that “based on common usage it is fair to state that if the title appears after a person’s name, that person may be presumed to be a lawyer.”
I’m not a lawyer but I agree with logic. For example seeing the name Jane Doe followed by “,Esq.” would lead most folks to conclude the person was a lawyer. There are some states that take that notion seriously. The Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline prohibited a lawyer who was not licensed to practice law in the state from appending Esq. to his signature on business correspondence because it was deemed to connote licensure in Ohio. (Ohio S. Ct. Opinion 91-24 (1991).)
I found another example on the ABA website page styled Use of Esq. by Non-Lawyers a commenter pointed out that: Continue reading “Are Unlicensed Lay People Using the Courtesy Title “Esquire” Tantamount to the Unauthorized Practice of Law?”