Ethics: Rule 1.7 (b) Illinois Code of Professional Responsibility
It has long been recognized that any attorney-client relationship encompasses the duty of the attorney to advise the client of progress in a case or controversy, and that duty is not altered by the presence of an insurance carrier to which the lawyer also reports. Rogers v. Robson, Masters, Ryan, Brumend and Belom, 74 Ill. App. 3d 467 (3d Dist. 1979)
While the code of professional responsibility governs the conduct of attorneys in Illinois, there are certain provisions of the code which are particularly relevant in the context of the tripartite relationship for assigned insurance defense counsel.
So Rule 1.7(a) says that: A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client, unless: 1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not adversely affect the relationship with the other client; and 2) each client consents after disclosure. 134 Ill. 2d Rule 1.7(a). In the same vein, Rule 1.7(b) of the Professional Responsibility Code provides that: A lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of that client may be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client or to a third person, or by the lawyer’s own interest, unless: 1) the lawyer reasonably believes the representation will not be adversely affected, and 2) the client consents after disclosure.