I was tipped that Hollywood attorneys Howard Weitzman and Dale Kinsella and their selected pals were already packing up their offices when that Los Angeles Times story appeared last Friday saying they “might” leave. So word went out to the media Monday that the rats are now officially deserting the sinking ship, aka the esteemed Century City law firm of Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman, Machtinger & Kinsella where Bert Fields has toiled for eons and which Weitzman only recently joined. The new firm will be called Kinsella, Weitzman, Iser, Kum and Aldisert.

UPDATED: But what I find especially disgusting about Weitzman’s flight from Greenberg Glusker is, as a source close to the Pellicano investigation reminds, that Howard was the guy who first brought Pellicano to Los Angeles and eventually inflicted him on all of Hollywood. Lest we forget, Weitzman worked hand-in-glove with Pellicano on the John De Lorean case in the early 1980s, and for years after. Then the attorney and the P.I. had a falling out in the late 1990s, I’m told. Oh yeah, Weitzman must have been shocked, shocked, at Pellicano’s connection to Fields.

What has Hollywood lawyers running scared is the possibility of civil litigation fallout that could cripple firms caught up in the Pellicano scandal because professional liability insurance won’t cover illegal activity like wiretapping. Plaintiff lawyers are being retained by clients who were allegedly wiretapped by top L.A. lawyers such as Terry Christensen, which may well have fallout for his famed firm of Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro. Already, the local legal press has speculated about that firm’s tenuous future. But, unlike Christensen, Bert Fields hasn’t been indicted. Yet it’s his firm that is already breaking apart.

If you want to decide just how big a rat Weitzman is (Hint: a huge one, with giant whiskers and a fat tail), read my May 19, 2005, column Hollywood Lawyers in Love about the tempestuous professional relationship between Howard and Bert dating back to their Michael Jackson days. By the way, not that I’m counting, but isn’t this the umpteenth move made by Weitzman? (His skittering has included Wyman Bautzer, then Katten Muchin Zavis & Weitzman, then Universal Studios, then Proskauer Rose, then Greenberg Glusker, then this new firm. Phew!) Oh, and remember, everyone, this is supposed to have nothing to do with the Pellicano scandal. I recently spoke to Weitzman who confirmed that he’s contemplated writing an autobiographical book. Why do I think I’ve already read a version of it? (Hint: A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey.)

P.S.  Howard also told me that, a while back, he’d talked to Allison Hope Weiner about writing the book with him. Weiner, a lawyer, had been an associate at Wyman Bautzer when Weitzman was a managing partner there, he said. Weiner is now 1/2 of The New York Times‘ Pellicano reporting team that has written extensively about Fields.