The son of K.S. and Stella Barre Fulmer, James Fulmer was born in 1912 at Neeses in Orangeburg County. He was educated at the University of South Carolina, where he received an A.B. and an LL.B. degree. At the University of South Carolina, he was President of the Clariosophic Literary Society, Blue Key and Chairman of the University Publications Committee.
In public life, he served as Assistant Attorney General of South Carolina from 1940–43 and 1946–50. He served in the United States Navy, for the intervening period. He was Columbia City Attorney, President of the Richland County Bar, a member of the Grievance Committee of the South Carolina Bar, a member of the Columbia Zoning Board and Director of the Bank of Prosperity and Bankers Trust.
He organized the firm of Fulmer and Barnes which eventually became Fulmer, Barnes, Berry and Austin. In 1969, he organized the firm of Fulmer, Berry and Alford.
He was married to Winifred Burford and they had two daughters, Fredi and Ann. Their homelife was idyllic.
An able trial lawyer and counsel in important cases throughout South Carolina, he often represented the State. His specialty was suretyship. Painstaking and thorough, always well prepared, scholarly and high principled, he was a safe counselor. He possessed a tenacity of purpose and strength of character. He was a most useful citizen.