Ethics at Sea: Ethics Issues for Maritime Lawyers and Insurers

In the practice of admiralty law, ethical issues arise with great frequency. This Article explores the ethical issues and the duties of lawyers that surround those ethical issues. The first part of the Article looks at the recurring conflicts of interest issues for admiralty attorneys. The second part examines the litigation process. In particular, the Article discusses the “tripartite relationship” between the insurer, the insured, and counsel. The delicate ethical line that counsel must walk when representing the interests of the insured (with costs borne by the insurer) is examined in detail. The second part of the Article also presents a wide range of scenarios that present ethical dilemmas facing insurance defense counsel. Finally, the Article responds to some of the questions raised by attorneys at the Planning Committee of the Tulane Admiralty Law Institute. Specifically, the question of whether attorneys may pay for or guarantee the payment of medical services is explored. The Article examines the applicable ethical rules and concludes that as long as counsel has an appropriate agreement with the client, agreements for the provision of medical services are proper.