Cole v. Myers

In Cole v. Myers, 128 Conn. 223, 230, 21 A.2d 396 (1941), an action brought by an attorney to recover a fee for legal services rendered, the attorney, like the plaintiff in the present case, had been employed on a contingency fee basis to obtain a reduction in tax assessments, but was discharged by the client before he had fully or substantially performed, and the client obtained a settlement through other attorneys. Id., at 224-27. The Court held that the discharged attorney was entitled to recover only on a quantum meruit basis, notwithstanding that the contracted for contingency occurred after the attorney's discharge. See id., at 228-30; see also 56 A.L.R.5th 85-92, 8 a (1998). In so ruling, the court explained that "an attorney at law is an officer of the court; a minister of justice. He is entitled to fair compensation for his services, but since, because of the highly confidential relationship, the client may discharge him even without just cause, he should receive reasonable compensation for the work he has done up to that point . . . . This rule is not unfair to the attorney. He will receive fair compensation for what he has done; his position as an officer of the court does not entitle him to receive payment for services he has not rendered." Cole v. Myers, supra, at 230.