Horns of a Defense Counsel Dilemma

The Corporate Counselor

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PUBLISHED ON: January 31, 2008

What happens when an attorney acts on behalf of two clients with potentially diverging interests — a policyholder in the midst of defending important litigation and the liability insurance company paying the defense bills? How can policyholders ensure that insurance company-appointed defense counsel are able to defend the policyholder without worry of conflicts with the insurance company? This article examines the conflicts that surround the socalled “tripartite relationship” among policyholder, insurance company, and defense counsel hired by the insurance company, as well as techniques to preserve defense counsel’s un-conflicted duty to its client, the policyholder. Insurance conflicts counsel is one such technique.