After earning a B.A. in International Studies and French at the University of Mississippi, Shelley completed a joint-degree program with the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and the Yale School of the Environment, earning a Master of Environmental Management and a Juris Doctor. While in law school, Shelley specialized in land use and environmental justice, and served as a Productions Editor for the Pace Environmental Law Review. Shelley also served as an extern in the chambers of Judge Laura Taylor Swain in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Shelley started her legal career in 2017 at Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California, a non-profit legal-services organization. She continued her professional work at Legal Aid of Sonoma County and Legal Aid of Marin, where she focused on a wide range of housing issues, from mobile-home park law and policy to landlord-tenant disputes.
She is a past president of Marin County Women Lawyers and served on her local Planning Commission.
Shelley grew up in a small town near Jackson, Mississippi, and now resides in Fairfax in Marin County with her husband and two young children.