Shaw was romantically linked with James T. Kirk in 2262. The relationship did not work out, but they parted as friends.
Shaw served in the JAG's office at Starbase 11 in 2267. That same year, she was the prosecuting attorney in the general court martial of Captain James T. Kirk for perjury and culpable negligence in the death of Benjamin Finney. Despite her personal history with Kirk, Shaw maintained her professional integrity and presented a strong case against her former lover that was only refuted after an investigation, begun by Lieutenant Commander Spock, revealed the truth of Finney's frame up. Shaw was happy for Kirk to be cleared of the charges, and, at her suggestion, they even shared a kiss on the bridge of the USS Enterprise just before she departed. (TOS: "Court Martial")
Areel Shaw was played by actress Joan Marshall.
In both the final draft and the revised final draft of the script for "Court Martial", Shaw was initially described as "a uniformed beauty", despite not wearing a uniform on-screen in the final version of that scene. The script went on to say, "Though military, she is a lovely woman, a beauty [....] Elegant, poised, cool." When she first appeared in court, the teleplay stated about Shaw, "Where earlier we saw a fetching female, we will now see a ruthless advocate."
In an ultimately omitted scene extension from the script of "Court Martial", Shaw wished Kirk "good luck" as he left to search his ship for Ben Finney, near the end of Kirk's court martial. Though Kirk retorted that her comment "[wasn't] very professional" and that he had thought she "wanted [his] neck," Shaw replied, "In one piece. Be careful," to which Kirk smiled.
Shaw appears in the Star Trek: Year Five comic series, having become the Attorney General of the United Federation of Planets. She tries unsuccessfully to convince Kirk to run for President of the Federation in opposition to the xenophobic Originalist faction. On Kirk's advice, Shaw ran for President herself, successfully defeating the Originalist candidate Renei.