Jim Fuller '64 learned from his parents at an early age that people deserved to be treated fairly. His life's work as an attorney specializing in civil rights has been dedicated to this strong belief and understanding. He has worked on precedent setting cases in support of women and racial minorities all over the South, work that has earned remarkable recognition, not the least of which is the title of Lawyer of the Year in 1998 from the Association of Black Lawyers, an award only once presented to a white attorney.
"I am most proud of helping people in general," he said. "Each civil rights case I've worked on could seem small, but each was a significant step toward equal rights for all people."
During his years at Davidson, Fuller recalls learning about the importance of service and making a difference in the world, but never hearing a lecture about it. He says it was an inherent part of the culture. He also remembers significant milestones, including two of Davidson's first black students, Leslie Brown and Wayne Crumwell, both members of the class of 1968.
"People often forget how recent history is," said Fuller. In 2014, the Davidson College Mock Trial Team named their competition the James C. Fuller Closing Argument Tournament in honor of the attorney and his many contributions to the field.
"My Davidson diploma is a concept, not a piece of paper," he said. "I look at my diploma and see Davidson presidents and professors with total commitment to a small number of very lucky students. Everything I've done successfully is because of experiences at Davidson. If you hang around long enough, you can get enough plaques to fill up two walls, but the important thing is serving the world and your community."
A Town of Davidson Board of Commissioners member, Fuller is a former NC Court of Appeals Judge and currently leads the personal injury legal team at The McIntosh Law Firm in Davidson. He has taught at the University of North Carolina, Duke University and Wake Forest law schools and at Davidson College.
Learn about other Davidson game changers at www.davidson.edu/gamechangers.