EXCLUSIVE: Law & Order alum Barry Schindel is back on the legal beat with Shadow Counsel, a drama for USA Network. Schindel is writing/executive producing and David Semel is directing/executive producing the project, from Universal Cable Prods. It centers on a former Army lawyer who, in order to crack an ongoing investigation, is recruited reluctantly by the FBI as a Shadow Counsel — a “secret” lawyer who operates in the shadows, completely off the record to circumvent existing roadblocks (hired attorneys, interrogators, etc) in classified cases.

A former trial attorney for the New York City Legal Aid Society, Schindel segued to writing/producing and served as co-chairman of Gotham-based Kardana Films. He spent three years on Law & Order, rising to executive producer/showrunner. CAA-repped Schindel has done a couple of legal drama pilots, including NBC’s adaptation of Rex Is Not Your Lawyer, which also was directed by Semel.

WME-repped Semel was recently tapped to direct Howard Gordon’s TNT drama pilot Legends. He has directed the pilots for such series as American Dreams, Heroes, No Ordinary Family and CBS’ Person of Interest.