Shelly James

Assistant Professor of Law
Associate Dean of Students

Phone: (276) 935-4349 Ext. 1225

Professor James taught debate, public speaking, and critical thinking after receiving her Master’s in Rhetoric and Public Address from the University of Pittsburgh. She then attended law school at the University of Iowa, where she was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Corporation Law. Since her graduation from Iowa, Professor James has worked as a prosecutor, an appellate attorney for the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, and a law clerk for two judges on the Virginia Court of Appeals.

For almost two decades, Professor James has worked as a private practice attorney in Harrisonburg, Virginia, representing primarily criminal defendants, parties and children in family law cases, and appellate parties.

Presentation and Panels:

  • Lecture – “Preserving Issues for Appeal.”  Court of Appeals of Virginia Law Clerks Conference (Richmond, VA).  August 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.
  • Lecture – “Spousal and Child Support.”  Breaking the Cycle, a Virginia Poverty Law Center Seminar on Domestic Violence (Weyers Cave, VA).  April 2006.
  • Article – “School Choice in Joint Custody Cases:  Tips to Help the Judge Decide.”  Virginia Lawyer, February 2005, Vol. 53(6):30-32.
  • Article – “Don’t Lose Your Case Before It’s Argued.”  VBA News Journal, November 2004, Vol. 30(7):18-20.
  • Lecture – “Preserving Issues for Appeal.”  Court of Appeals of Virginia Law Clerks’ Conference (Richmond, VA).  August 2003.
  • Lecture – “A Day in the Life of a Law Clerk.”  Court of Appeals of Virginia Law Clerks’ Conference (Richmond, VA).  August 2002.
  • Lecture – Discussion of Fourth and Fifth Amendment Issues and Other Trial Issues.  Co‑presenter.  Virginia’s Fire Marshals’ Training School.  (Alexandria, VA).  October 2001.
  • Lecture – “Preserving Issues for Appeal.”  Co-presenter.  Commonwealth Attorneys’ Conference (Virginia Beach, VA).  August 2000.
  • Lecture – “What Attorneys and Guardians ad litem Need to Know about Troxel v. Granville.”
  • Regional Bench Bar and Solo Practitioner Conference for the 28th, 29th, and 30th Judicial Circuits (via Zoom).  September 2020.
  • J.D., University of Iowa, College of Law (1995)
  • M.A., University of Pittsburgh (1985)
  • B.S., James Madison University (1983)
Courses Taught:

Family Law, Appellate Advocacy and Advanced Appellate Advocacy Clinic