Justice James Gregory "Greg" Shaw, the son of James Hubert and Ruth Cooper Shaw, was born in 1957 and raised in Birmingham, where he graduated from Banks High School. The Shaw family roots extend into neighboring Shelby County, where his father, a retired businessman and a long-time member of the KeyMasters Gospel Quartet, was born and raised. To this day, the Shaw family name in Alabama is synonymous with great gospel singing.
Justice Shaw graduated from Auburn University in 1979, receiving a B.S. degree with a major in Chemistry. He is married to S. Samantha "Sam" Shaw, the daughter of June Daly Slimp and the late William M. Slimp of Homewood. Justice Shaw met Sam while at Auburn, and they married in August 1980, just before Justice Shaw's second year of law school. Sam was elected Alabama's State Auditor in 2006.
In 1982, Justice Shaw graduated in the top 10% of his class from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law. While at Cumberland, he received the American Jurisprudence Award for excellence in the study of evidence under Professor Charles Gamble, the author of the preeminent evidence treatise in Alabama.
After his admission to the Alabama State Bar in 1982, Justice Shaw worked with a small law firm in St. Clair County. He later started his own general law practice in Birmingham. In the fall of 1984, Justice Shaw joined the staff of Supreme Court Associate Justice Janie L. Shores and moved to Montgomery. After serving as Justice Shores's staff attorney for one year, he joined the staff of Supreme Court Associate Justice James Gorman Houston, Jr., in the fall of 1985, where he served as Justice Houston's senior staff attorney for over 15 years. Justice Shaw was elected to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals in 2000 and was reelected to that Court in 2006. On March 16, 2007, Justice Shaw was appointed Chief Judge of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.