John (plaintiff) Droeger and Joanna Droeger were married. In 1982, Joanna filed for divorce from John. Joanna hired Friedman, Sloan & Ross (Friedman) (defendant) to represent Joanna in the divorce proceedings. Joanna signed a promissory note to pay Friedman for attorney’s fees. Joanna executed a deed of trust on two parcels of community-property land to secure the promissory note. John did not sign or consent to the promissory note or the deed of trust. John subsequently filed a lawsuit to quiet title to the community-property land subject to the deed of trust. Friedman filed a demurrer and claimed that the deed of trust was enforceable against Joanna’s one-half interest in the community property. The trial court sustained the demurrer and dismissed John’s case. John filed a motion for reconsideration. The motion was denied. John appealed to the court of appeals. The court of appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment and held that John could invalidate the encumbrance of the deed of trust based on California statute. Friedman petitioned the Supreme Court of California for review.