Great, thank you.
Florida attorneys are regulated by the Florida Bar.
No attorney can take a client's money and do nothing. That is a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and the attorney can be disbarred/suspended from practice.
The Florida Bar Attorney Consumer Assistance Program (ACAP) handles client complaints and can resolve some problems via mediation before a complaint is filed. To speak with an ACAP representative, call the ACAP Hotline at 1-866-352-0707.
Note: The ACAP investigator may try to minimize the issue. If you tell the investigator that the attorney did anything
proactive for you, that may be enough for the investigator to decline any assistance. You must take a hardline stance that the attorney did nothing after taking your money. Also, if you mention that a statute of limitations
may be pending, and the attorney's lack of diligence may cause you to lose any opportunity to recover in court, the investigator may really get interested, because that sort of legal error by a lawyer is a very big deal.
You need to, at least, get to a mediation through the bar. That way, the attorney may agree to return some of your money, voluntarily. A "bird in the hand," as the old saying goes.
If this all fails, you could sue the attorney for malpractice, but that's a much bigger deal, and you would need to hire a legal malpractice lawyer. So, it's not the first thing to consider.
Concerning finding a competent lawyer to take your case, this is a link
to the only really reputable referral services in Florida. These services "vet" their lawyers and require that the lawyers follow additional rules in performing services. Otherwise, they are removed from the referral lists. Whereas other online lawyer websites don't do any investigation at all -- they let anyone advertise who is willing to pay for advertising space.
Please let me know if my answer is helpful or if I can provide further clarification or assistance.
And, thanks for using justanswer.com!