Born on November 18, 2358 to Albert and Jessica Nickles, growing up as the only child to two member of the Starfleet Judge Advocate General Corps, all he ever knew was Federation Law. During much of his youth, he would spend time at Starfleet Judge Advocate General Headquarters and got to know a few Judge Advocates and even two Judge Advocate General of Starfleet.
However, James did not live and easy life because at time he would either live with one parent or both if the had to leave Earth to travel for court case. James did not make it any easier on himself, when he would get into fights with a few classmate, a few time his mother would come home from the office to find him covered bruise and scars. After consulting with her husband, Jessica retired from Starfleet in 2365 to at least attempt to raise James, however later that year both learn that Albert had been killed in a shuttle crash as a result of computer error, thus leaving James to really be raised in a single-parent home. James didn’t make raising him easy on his mother, however he never really did anything that would really require her to deal with him.
In late 2375, he would apply to Howard University located in the District of Columbia to study for a degree in Federation Pre-Law. After graduation from Howard, he would go on to attend Harvard Law School located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which he graduated from ranked 50th out of 250th. Two months after graduating from Harvard, James attended Starfleet Officer Candidate School and Starfleet Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School so that he could practice law in Starfleet. In his law few months at Starfleet Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in 2385, James as assigned to the USS Mississippi as the Senior Judge Advocate before transferring at the request of the Starfleet Judge Advocate General of Hawkeye Island.