James Parrish attended Ivanhoe Grammar School between 1965 and 1970. He graduated from Monash University with a BA in 1973 and LLB in 1977 and was admitted to the Bar in 1978. His area of expertise primarily revolved around personal injury matters extending to workers compensation, common law claims for damages in respect of industrial accidents, medical negligence and transport accidents and occupiers liability. James is a past Chairman of the Victorian Compensation Bar Association. In 2003, he was appointed Senior Counsel for the State of Victoria and in December 2009, was appointed a judge of the County Court of Victoria.