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What you want to do is raise the stakes on him so that he knows that not complying with your demands is going to cost him far more in the end than simply giving you your refund now. You should send him one more letter...a certified, return receipt requested letter detailing the history, terminating him as your lawyer, and demanding he refund your money plus any damages you have suffered due to his failure to perform within a short specified period of time. Inform him that if your demand is not timely complied with, you will have no choice but to: i) file a formal ethics complaint with the state bar association, and ii) file a suit against him for your damages. Be sure to specifically mention that you will be filing this claim not only as a breach of contract case, but also as deceptive trade practice, legal malpractice, bad faith and gross negligence causes of action, which will entitle you not only to your actual damages, but also an additional amount equal to multiple times your actual damages as punitive damages. That should provide plenty of incentive to comply with your demands; but, if it does not, file your ethics complaint and your suit. In my experience, this letter is all you will need to send because the lawyer will give return your money, pay your damages, and return your file rather than risk the loss of his license and punitive damages.
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