Judge James R. Barber, III, was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1943. He is the son of the late James R. Barber, Jr. and Barbara D. Barber. He graduated from Aiken High School and received his bachelor's degree in 1966 and his juris doctorate degree in 1969 from the University of South Carolina.
After completing law school, Judge Barber worked in the Internal Security Division of the United States Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He then returned to South Carolina in 1972 to begin the private practice of law with the law firm of Henry H. Edens. In 1977 he joined the firm of Marchant, Bates, Todd and Barber which later became Todd and Barber, P.C. During his years of private practice Judge Barber was elected to the Richland County Council serving from 1977 through 1986. He was Chairman of the Council in 1978. Judge Barber was active in the South Carolina Association of Counties, serving on the Board of Directors from 1973-1986, Vice-President from 1982 through 1986 and was made Honorary President in 1986. He also involved himself in community affairs by serving on the Richland Memorial Hospital Board, the Richland Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Historical Columbia Foundation Board, the Central Midlands Regional Planning Council and the Richland County Cancer Society Board.
In 1986 Judge Barber was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by the Governor of South Carolina.
Judge Barber has been a member of the Richland County Bar Association, the South Carolina Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He is admitted to practice in all South Carolina Counts, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States.
He is married to the former Susan Preston Foster of Hartsville, South Carolina. He and his wife are the parents of three children, Carolina Dill Barber (deceased), Anna Rutherford Barber and Susan Rezner Barber.