The competing interests inherent in the relationship between the insurance company, its insured, and defense counsel—called the “tripartite relationship”—have long been recognized in the defense of lawsuits covered by insurance.  “[This] so-called tripartite relationship has been well documented as a source of unending ethical, legal, and economic tension.”  State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Traver, 980 S.W.2d 625, 633 (Tex. 1998) (Gonzales, J., dissenting).  This four-post series will examine the inherent tension in the tripartite relationship, commonly-encountered conflicts, defense counsel’s ethical obligations, and best practices for defense counsel....