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I think you can get this resolved without the expense of a lawyer. 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 complying now. You should send him a letter by certified, return receipt requested detailing the history, terminating him as your lawyer, and demanding he return your file, refund any money paid, write off any amounts he thinks are due, and pay you any damages you have suffered due to his failure to competently perform his duties. Inform him that if he does not comply with your demands within a short specified period of time, you will have no choice but to: i) file a formal ethics complaint with the state bar association, and ii) file a legal malpractice 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 gross negligence and willful misconduct 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 comply rather than risk the loss of his license and punitive damages.
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