When people get sued or they find out that they may be sued, they contact their insurance companies. The insurance companies then “hire” attorneys for their insured(s). Sometimes these attorneys are actually employees of the insurance companies. Other times they work for outside firms that have very close relationships with the insurance companies.
These attorneys ostensibly (and ethically) owe an undivided duty of loyalty to their clients. But in reality their real loyalty is to the adjusters and insurers who hire/employ them.
Right now we’re involved in a case where there are counterclaims against our client that are being defended by her insurance company. The attorney hired to represent our shared client is a pawn for the insurer. Fortunately we’re going to be able to put significant pressure on the insurer and co-counsel to adjust their conduct.
It’s important to realize what master insurance defense attorneys really serve. Most pay lip-service to their ethical obligations but, in reality, are beholden to the insurers who pay their bills. This tension creates opportunities that should be exploited in every case.