Memory Hold The Door
Miss James M. Perry (1894–1964)
Miss James M. Perry was born in Greenville on May 10, 1894, the daughter of Professor James M. Perry and Jeanne LeGal Perry. She received her B.A. degree from Greenville Women’s College in 1913 and an LL.B. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1915. In 1917, she received a J.D. from that university.* She was an outstanding counsellor to corporations. She rose from clerk to partner (1937) and, upon her death, was a senior member of Haynsworth, Perry, Bryant, Marion and Johnstone.
A member of the Episcopal Church, League of Women Voters, and the local, state and national Bar Associations, she also helped found the Greenville Humane Society and the Business and Professional Women’s Club.
She received the Sullivan Award from Furman University for her work for the betterment of her community … “an inspiration to women everywhere as they reach toward the full and rewarding life.”
She was the recipient of the Humane Society’s distinguished service award and was “Greenville-Piedment’s Professional Woman of the Year” in 1961.
Measured by her sense of responsibility for her clients, for mankind and animals in need, and measured further by a desirable pride in her profession, she was a definite success.
* After her graduation, Miss Perry was admitted to the Bar of California. On February 14, 1918, Governor Richard I. Manning signed into law Act 441, which stated that “Women shall be allowed to practice law within the State of South Carolina under the same rules, regulations, and conditions prescribed for the men of this state.” On May 3, 1918, Miss James M. Perry became the first woman admitted to the practice of law by the Supreme Court of South Carolina. Ruth Williams Cupp, Portia Steps Up to the Bar: the First Women Lawyers of South Carolina 3, 15 (2003).