I am sorry for what the Judge and the lawyer have put you through.
If the lawyer has done nothing, you must demand that he give you an itemized bill which should consist of 3 columns. In one, he will show the date, in the second he will have a "Description of Legal Services Rendered" and in the third how much time it took. He should have an entry for every date he claims he did something. If he cannot produce this, or he sends something that does not look like anything he did for you, you musst demand a return of your retainer. It's lawyers like that who give the rest of the hardworking lawyers an undeserved bad reputation.
If he does not give you a refund, then immediately report him to the New York State Attorney Disciplinary Board.
As for the Judge, you must appeal his decision, "nunc pro tunc" which means "as if appealed from the beginning" so that you can get all his Orders in.
Go to the Legal Aid Society and ask for their help. You should also call the State and County Bar Association; ask for their Pro Bono Committee; these are lawyers who volunteer their time so that everyone can have legal representation. Also ask for their "Lawyer Referral Service", tell them what your problem is and ask for the name of several attorneys who charge on a scale according to what you can afford and possibly who take installment payments. Consultations are usually under $25 and most of the time they are free. Speak to all of them, ask questions, then select the one with whom you feel the most comfortable. Someone will be able to help you and I wish you the best of luck
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ANDREA, JD, LLM
Member, NY & PA Bar
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