Shelly R James

Shelly R James

Harrisonburg, Virginia
Shelly James received her law degree from the University of Iowa, a top 20 law school, in 1995.  She then returned to Virginia and began her law career.  Prior to attending law school, she did significant amounts of legal research and writing while attending graduate school and coaching debate teams.  Throughout the years since she graduated from law school, Shelly James has continued to keep up with changes in the law, and she has continued to train others.  She brings this knowledge and approach to every case, helping clients understand the law that affects their cases and using that knowledge to help clients get results in their cases.

Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Law
  • Domestic Relations
  • Family Law
  • Appellate Cases

Litigation Percentage

  • 55% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • Virginia


  • University of Iowa College of Law, Iowa City, Iowa
    • J.D. - 1995
    • Honors: With Distinction
    • Honors: Editor-in-Chief -- Journal of Corporation Law
    • Honors: American Jurisprudence Award -- Evidence
    • Honors: Little Brown Award -- Corporate Law
    • Honors: Stephenson Trial Competition Team
  • James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
    • B.S. - 1983
    • Major: Political Science
    • Major: Journalism
  • University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    • M.A. - 1985
    • Major: Rhetorical Studies
    • Major: Public Discourse
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts
    • Graduate Work 1985-1988

Published Works

  • School Choice in Joint Custody Cases: Tips to Help the Judge Decide, Virginia Lawyer, February 2005, Vol. 53(6):30-32
  • Don’t Lose Your Case Before It’s Argued, VBA News Journal, November 2004, Vol. 30(7):18-20
  • Law Journal: Arbitration in the Securities Field, Journal of Corporation Law, Volume 21


  • Preserving Issues for Appeal, Court of Appeals of Virginia Law Clerks Conference (Richmond, VA). August 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010
  • Spousal and Child Support, Breaking the Cycle, a Virginia Poverty Law Center Seminar on Domestic Violence (Weyers Cave, VA). April 2006
  • Preserving Issues for Appeal, Court of Appeals of Virginia Law Clerks’ Conference (Richmond, VA). August 2003
  • A Day in the Life of a Law Clerk, Court of Appeals of Virginia Law Clerks’ Conference (Richmond, VA). August 2002
  • Discussion of Fourth and Fifth Amendment Issues and Other Trial Issues, Co presenter. Virginia’s Fire Marshals’ Training School. (Alexandria, VA). October 2001
  • Preserving Issues for Appeal, Co-presenter. Commonwealth Attorneys’ Conference (Virginia Beach, VA). August 2000
  • Adjunct Instructor, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. January 2006 to May 2006
  • Adjunct Instructor, Thomas Nelson Community College, Hampton, VA. January 2004 to May 2004, August 1998 to June 1999
  • Adjunct Instructor, Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA. August 2003 to December 2003
  • Director of Forensics, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. August 1990 to July 1992
  • Director of Debate, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts. August 1989 to July 1990
  • Director of Forensics, King's College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. August 1988 to July 1989.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Virginia State Bar, Member, 1995 - Present
  • Bar of the United States Supreme Court, Member, 1999 - Present
  • North River Ruritan Club, Associate Member, 2005 - Present
  • Local Representative to the Conference of Local Bar Associations, 2012 - Present

Past Employment Positions

  • Office of Judge Randolph A. Beales, Court of Appeals of Virginia, Richmond, VA. July 2006 to August 2011, Law Clerk
  • Law Office of Franklin Blatt, Harrisonburg, VA. June 2004 to July 2006, Associate Attorney
  • Office of Judge Robert P. Frank, Court of Appeals of Virginia, Newport News, VA. July 2001 to June 2004, Law Clerk
  • Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, Richmond, VA. June 1999 to July 2001, Assistant Attorney General
  • Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, Newport News, VA. July 1996 to June 1999, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney