GREENVILLE, SC – The South Carolina Bar Foundation has named James C. Parham, Jr., Shareholder of Wyche, P.A., the recipient of its DuRant Distinguished Public Service Award. The award recognizes a lifetime in the law marked by integrity, character, and active pursuits to ensure justice.
The DuRant Distinguished Public Service Award was established in 1980 in memory of Charlton DuRant, a well-known South Carolina attorney who served as State Senator and Special Associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. Today, the award is one of the most prestigious statewide honors that members of the Bar can bestow on a fellow attorney. Recipients are nominated and selected by their professional peers. Selection criteria include meritorious service to the law and the community.
“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.”
Parham, known to all as “Poss,” began his career at Wyche in 1960, where he worked with the firm’s other leaders to create a world-class law firm in South Carolina. The firm developed a nationally recognized practice under the name “Wyche, Burgess, Freeman & Parham.” Beyond his excellence as a lawyer, Parham contributed to an environment and philosophy that has seen Wyche continue to thrive as it reaches its 100th anniversary. That philosophy remains intact today: excellence over revenue maximization, community over narrow self-interest, and ingenuity over brute force. Parham embodies Wyche’s uncommon approach, which is rooted in community transformation, societal impact, advancing the business community, and environmental stewardship.
Recognized as one of South Carolina’s top litigators, Parham has guided clients through an endless variety of complex issues. Notably, Parham represented the Greenville County School District in desegregation litigation in federal court, creating a meaningful path to end segregation in Greenville’s schools.
Wyche’s CEO, Tally Parham Casey, reflected on Parham’s achievements from the unique perspectives of both the firm’s current leader and as Parham’s daughter: “His background and accomplishments are the stuff of legend. But they are matched in equal measure by his sense of modesty and self-deprecation, and by his personification of integrity.”
Throughout his career, Parham has devoted his time and talent to countless organizations and initiatives to advance South Carolina. He served as the first President of the South Carolina Bar as it exists today, after the voluntary and compulsory bars merged into one in 1975.
Parham graduated from Princeton University in 1952. Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, he then earned a Bachelor in Civil Law from Magdalen College at Oxford University. Upon graduation from Yale Law School, Parham served as a fighter pilot in the South Carolina Air National Guard. He is recognized among national third-party peer review publications as a leading attorney, including Best Lawyers and Chambers USA.