James Lewis Skerritt was born in Kentucky in 1898, and attended the University of Louisville prior to receiving his law degree from the New York University School of Law. He practiced in New York, specializing in estate and trust matters. He was associated with the firm of Dunnington, Bartholow & Miller for a time, but subsequently established a solo practice. He served on the Committee on the Surrogates' Courts of the Bar Association of the City of New York. He resided for a number of years in Mount Vernon, New York. At the time of his death in 1974, he was 76 years old.. He was survived by his son, James L. Skerritt, Jr., and his daughter, Elizabeth Skerritt.