Forget Godzilla vs. Rodin. If you think Tinseltown lawyers can get nasty, imagine what it's like when Tinseltown lawyers sue other Tinseltown lawyers.
Well, we found out today. A three-year long Hollywood legal battle royale came to a head today between two warring camps of legal supersharks. Here's what happened: Back in October of 2004, powerhouse firm Armstrong Hirsch's founding partner Barry Hirsch formed a new law firm, Hirsch, Wallerstein, Fishman & Matlof, and taking with him several attorneys as well as superstar clients like Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lopez.
Hirsch then sued his old partners over what he alleged was a putsch against him and several colleagues. Hirsch's old partners -- who themselves represent superstars like Nicole Kidman -- went apoplectic and countersued, saying Hirsch had looted his old firm of clients and cash over their salary spat.
Things got so crazy that his former partners even accused Hirsch -- a licensed therapist and ordained minister who officiated at Lopez's weddings -- of using his training in psychology to manipulate his clients into leaving for his new firm. Studios cowered, terrified that their super-secret deal memos detailing how much they paid top stars would be subpoenaed and wind up ... well, here.
(Note to self: Must get all subpoenas in Hirsch matter in order to mentally unhinge studio chiefs. Also: Must pitch Fox on my new idea for a pilot -- about a super-lawyer who also performs weddings and does marital counseling of top actors.)
Today, though, came a much needed dose of sanity. Having spent millions beating the tar out of each other in court, L.A. Superior Court Judge Robert O'Brien ruled this afternoon on what both sides will get: Absolutely nothing.
As Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily observed, there is one upside to all this intra-Esquire ugliness: "now the talent will be able to get their lawyers on the phone again."