Our People

What makes John Elledge & Associates effective is our people. Our people work together in relationship with our clients to meet their legal needs and to ease the anxiety associated with the legal process.

Tania Pérez Rodríguez

New-Photo-TaniaA native of Cuba, Tania Rodríguez immigrated to Harrisonburg as a teenager and graduated from James Madison University. After working as secretary and office manager for Mr. Elledge’s former law firm, Tania went to Appalachian School of Law, during which time she also did two summer internships at the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Harrisonburg.

Since coming to John Elledge & Associates Tania has become a very effective general practice attorney, trying criminal cases before juries to acquittal, successfully litigating custody, visitation and divorce cases as well as having experience with appeals to the Virginia Court of Appeals. Tania has also been very successful advising business clients and drafting contracts tailored to their specific business models and litigating business disputes. Tania has also developed an effective Immigration filing practice, helping many families and individuals obtain Lawful Permanent Resident status and Citizenship in the U.S. Tania is also frequently relied upon by the local courts to serve as guardian ad litem for juveniles, particularly in cases involving Spanish speakers.

Tania’s ability to work effectively in both the English and Spanish languages has made her an invaluable asset to many Spanish-speaking individuals and businesses.

Joseph J. Harrington

Joseph Harrington is a native of Lexington, Kentucky, who fell in love with Harrisonburg while he was attending James Madison University.  Joseph has lived throughout Virginia, attending high school in the Tidewater area, then in Richmond while attending the University of Richmond, from which he received his Bachelor’s Degree in History.  He then received his Master’s Degree in History from JMU, where he served as a Teaching Assistant.  He was very active in the Catholic Campus Ministry at JMU, and was in charge of the planning of its yearly Spring Break Service trips to Haiti, Jamaica, The Bronx, and rural Tennessee.

After JMU, Joseph studied law at George Mason School of Law, from which he graduated Magna Cum Laude, due to his ranking in the top 9% of his class.  Although he had interned with various firms in the Arlington area, after graduation Joseph chose to relocate to what he considered his real home, Harrisonburg.

Since joining John Elledge & Associates, Joseph has become adept at handling criminal defense cases, as working on civil litigation for the firm. Joseph takes special pride in representing JMU students, due to his fond memories of his time as a student, and belief in the character of the JMU student body.

Steve Smith

New-Photo-SteveSteve Smith is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia and is registered to practice before immigration courts. Fluent in Spanish and holding a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies Steve’s affinity for immigrant communities make his commitment to Immigration Law run deep. Prior to beginning his law practice, Steve worked in various non-profit positions and as an investigator for the Office of the Public Defender.

Shelly R. James


Shelly James graduated from Fort Defiance High School and James Madison University before leaving the Valley to attend graduate school in communications at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Massachusetts.  After teaching college students and coaching debate for a few years, Shelly decided to switch careers and got her law degree from the University of Iowa.

Since getting her degree, Shelly has prosecuted in Newport News, where she concentrated in crimes against family members, handling all types of cases from assault to murder.  She also worked as an appellate and habeas attorney for the Office of the Attorney General, but left to work for a judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Shelly has been in private practice for nearly a decade, concentrating in the areas of criminal law, domestic relations and family law, and appellate cases.  She has a very active courtroom practice, arguing cases in Rockingham County/Harrisonburg, Augusta County, Staunton, Highland County, and Page County, as well as cases before the appellate courts, particularly the Virginia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Shelly is a licensed to practice law in Virginia, and has been admitted to practice before all of the federal courts for Virginia, as well as before the United States Supreme Court.

Tinangeles Peña Abreu

new-photo-TinangelesOur Office Manager and Legal Assistant, Tina Abreu, is the face of John Elledge & Associates and will be your first point of contact with the firm. Having been raised in a family of lawyers, Tina has 13 years experience working in law offices.  Since coming to our predecessor firm in 2010, Tina has managed the day-to-day operations of the office, from accounting to document management, information technology, human resources, calendaring and client relations. Fully fluent in Spanish and English, she provides the firm with translation services, both oral and written. Tina takes her role very seriously and is motivated by her many opportunities to help our clients through their time of need.

John H. Elledge, III

johnJohn Elledge is a graduate of James Madison University and George Mason University School of Law.  While at law school, John did an internship at the Board of Immigration Appeals where he assisted the judges of the Board in deciding Asylum cases and drafting rulings for their approval.

Before becoming a lawyer, John worked in several capacities. He lived several years in Honduras, teaching in a bilingual school, developing a nationwide church youth program, and helping to establish a girls’ orphanage. He also worked as an executive director of a nonprofit charitable organization before working as a legislative assistant in the Virginia General Assembly and in residential and commercial real estate.

After working several years as a partner in a local law firm, John established John Elledge & Associates in 2012, where he has been successful in criminal defense at both the state and federal level, immigration (particularly in dealing with the immigration consequences of criminal charges), domestic, business, and civil litigation. He has successfully argued a case before the Virginia Supreme Court.