James Barr is a lifelong resident of Jonesboro, Arkansas. He attended Jonesboro Public Schools and graduated from Jonesboro High School in 1986 before graduating Arkansas State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.
James worked at the Jonesboro Sun as a writer before assisting with the family business of property development and management. He then graduated from the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is married to the former Shawna Erney of Springfield, MO, and has four children.