After graduating from high school in the northern suburbs of Chicago, James attended the University of Virginia, where he earned degrees in Cognitive Science and Economics with Distinction. He additionally completed all degree requirements for a BA in Psychology, with concentrations in neuroscience and cognitive psychology. While at UVA, James was a member of the Echols Scholars program and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.
Along with his own entrepreneurial efforts in the education and real estate markets, James has been a strategy consultant in Chicago, an academic editor, and a directional drilling engineer on oil rigs throughout the Southwest.
Most recently, James earned a JD from Yale Law School, where he assisted clients as a member of the Veterans Legal Services and Nonprofit Organizations Clinics. During law school, he also worked at private firms in Houston and Chicago, as well as on the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. James is a member of the State Bar of Texas.