I am sorry to hear that you are having difficulties with your case.
Under the Professional Rules of Conduct for NY, an attorney cannot determine when to terminate the attorney client relationship; rather code DR 2-110 allows the client has the unfettered right to discharge the lawyer at any time, with or without cause. Case law is in agreement with this per Jacobson v. Sassower, 66 N.Y.2d 991, 993 (1986).
Please see page 34 of the rules as it discusses that a fee must be reasonable- and that takes into account , for example, "1. The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly. " So for example, if Large Firm was billing $250 an hour because they had the manpower to effectively handle the case and expedite the process and utilize support staff, then one would expect Small Firm to charge less; that is why the firms with many partners tend to charge higher fees- they have many more assistants that are contributing to overhead.
The retainer would need to be reviewed to see if the firm was hired, or if the individual attorney was hired; normally there is a provision in the contract stating what will happen if the individual attorney departs the firm. The bot***** *****ne is that both the firm and the attorney have a fiduciary duty to the client to ensure that the client remains with whichever is best suited to assist the client in the original legal objectives.
Normally the partners will review the attorney's files, and determine which files should remain with the firm, and which are best suited to the individual lawyer- but the choice is ultimately the clients- the client cannot be forced to remain with one or the other.
Normally a termination agreement will be executed between the client and the firm, and the client and the new firm will execute a new agreement; the attorney would also need to notify the court of the change (ie new firm name, new address, new phone number)
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.