James Frierson was educated at Hobart College, receiving a B.L., at Columbia University, receiving an LL.B., and again at Hobart College, receiving an LL.D. He practiced for ten years in Buffalo, New York, and in 1908 he returned to South Carolina to practice in Columbia. He became a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina School of Law and served as Dean from 1920 until his retirement in 1946.
He was married to Miss Louise Dwight Mazyck of Charleston.
He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the Kosmos Club, the University Club of Buffalo and Phi Delta Phi. He served as a Trustee of Porter Military Academy and as President of the S.C.T.B. Association.
A great influence for high scholarship and ethical standards, he made a deep and lasting impression upon many generations of students who have molded the legal and governmental life of South Carolina.