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Halle Berry

Fires Longtime Lawyer

Hires Legal Bulldozer

3/1/2012 8:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

0229-halle_berry_steven_kolodny_tmzgetty-EXHalle Berry has dumped another man ... but this one has been with her way longer than all the others -- her longtime lawyer/confidante, Neal Hersh ... TMZ has learned.

Here's the lowdown. Our sources tell us Halle wants to go after her baby daddy Gabriel Aubry with nuclear weapons -- metaphorically speaking -- and she thinks Hersh is too much of a gentleman to wage that kind of legal war, even though he has guided Halle through 2 divorces, a custody war and various other legal skirmishes.

So we've learned Halle has hired Stephen Kolodny (above), who is legendary in L.A. legal circles for the level of legal warfare she so wants. You may recall Kolodny repped Mel Gibson in his epic battle with Oksana Grigorieva -- and that got kinda nasty.

Kolodny has already gone to court with Halle. We've learned last Thursday the new duo went to dependency court to have more restrictions placed on Aubry. The dependency judge has already ordered that Gabriel can only have contact with Nahla in the presence of a monitor. On Thursday, we're told the judge voiced additional concerns and ordered Gabriel to return the child to Halle earlier than the 6 PM deadline on days he has custody.

Kolodny will have his hands full trying to convince the family law judge that Halle should be able to move to France with the child because she's concerned about paparazzi and safety. 

One thing's for sure ... it's gonna get nasty.

Hersh and Kolodny could not be reached for comment.

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