The South Carolina Bar Foundation Announces the Winner of the 2021 DuRant Award

The South Carolina Bar Foundation is proud to announce that James C. Parham, Jr., Member of Wyche, P.A., has been selected as the 2021 DuRant Distinguished Public Service Award recipient for meritorious service to the law and community. Known for his lifetime of integrity, character, and active pursuits to ensure justice, Mr. Parham’s credentials align perfectly with the mission and vision of the South Carolina Bar Foundation.

Mr. Parham first displayed his sense of justice by fighting for inclusion and equity before he even began practicing law. As president of his sophomore class at Princeton University in the early fifties, he recognized the divisive nature of the “invitation only” eating-club tradition on campus. He helped found and led the “100-Percent of None” movement resulted in a policy ensuring any Princeton student would be welcomed with at least one membership invitation to an eating-club. That equality continues to this day.

Later in 1970, Mr. Parham continued battling injustice by representing the Greenville County School District in the desegregation litigation in the US District Court. His creativity in designing a plan ensured a successful transition to implement a voluntary desegregation plan based on the guidance of the Courts and census data as to population. With this plan, Greenville County School District was able to successfully integrate its 55,000 students in less than two weeks.

A large group of attorneys and judges nominated and showed support for Mr. Parham to receive this acknowledgment. Having worked beside him as fellow attorneys, friends, and mentees, their collective words are that he is one of the finest men the law has known and credited the betterment of South Carolina Law and the South Carolina Bar to his participation in them.

The DuRant Distinguished Public Service Award was established in 1980 in memory of Charlton DuRant. Mr. DuRant was a well-known Manning attorney who served as state senator and special associate justice of the SC Supreme Court. This award is one of the most prestigious statewide honors that members of the Bar can bestow on a fellow attorney. Recipients are nominated by their professional peers and selected by the South Carolina Bar Foundation Board.

“I can attest to Mr. Parham being of the highest caliber of ethics, morals public service, and most importantly, his genuine concern for others,” said Manning Y. Culbertson, nominator, and fellow Greenville attorney. “Mr. Parham has a most well-rounded history of social exposure and education, and over his lifetime, has shared his great wisdom, concern, and compassion, not only for his fellow bar members, but also for the community at large. I know of his tireless efforts to assist young lawyers quietly and without any fanfare throughout the entire state.”

In addition to receiving this year’s DuRant award, Mr. Parham has previously been listed in Best Lawyers In America since 1991, Chambers USA, and he received the Tommy Thomason Award from the Greenville County Bar Association for exemplifying compassion, humility, diplomacy, integrity, and dedication to community improvement and public service. At Princeton, he was “the senior who, in the judgement of his classmates, had done the most for his class,” earning him the Detwiler Prize for the Class of 1952. He was also elected president of the class his sophomore, junior and senior years, and later served on Princeton’s Board of Trustees. A graduate of Yale Law School, he was Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Magdalen College, in 1956, after which he served as a fighter pilot in the US Air Force and South Carolina Air National Guard. Mr. Parham lives and practices law in Greenville with his family and maintains active membership in a long list of philanthropic organizations both in and outside of the legal field.

Click here to learn more about the DuRant award.