Étienne Pasquier was a French lawyer and man of letters. By his own account he was born in Paris on 7 June 1529, but according to others he was born in 1528. He was called to the Paris bar in 1549.
In 1558 he became very ill by eating poisonous mushrooms and took two years to recover. This compelled him to occupy himself with literary work and in 1560 he published the first book of his Recherches de la France. In 1565, when he was thirty-seven he became famous after giving a speech in which he pleaded the cause of the University of Paris against the Jesuits and won it. Meanwhile, he pursued the Recherches steadily and published other miscellaneous work from time to time.
His literary and his legal occupations coincided in a curious fashion at the Grands Jours of Poitiers in 1579. These Grands Jours were a kind of irregular assize in which a commission of the parlement of Paris, selected and dispatched at short notice by the king, had full power to hear and determine all causes, especially those in which seignorial rights had been abused.