In December 1975, Mary-Ann Kriegsman (defendant) retained Rose, Poley, Bromley and Landers (the Rose firm) (plaintiff) as counsel in a divorce action against her husband Bernard. Mary-Ann paid the Rose firm $2,000, with the understanding that she would have to pay additional costs during the course of litigation. The Rose firm represented Mary-Ann for over three months, during which time they completed substantial work, including attempting to interface with the uncooperative pro se defendant. As of April 1976, the Rose firm billed Mary-Ann an additional $7,354.50. At that point, Mary-Ann could not afford to pay, and the Rose firm filed an application to withdraw from representation. Mary-Ann contended that the Rose firm should not be permitted to withdraw because it would be too difficult for a new attorney to take over after so much work had already been done. Mary-Ann further contended that the Rose firm was aware of her financial circumstances when they agreed to represent her. The judge denied the Rose firm’s application to withdraw, but set the trial commencement date within the month. The Rose firm appealed.