I am licensed in Nevada, but this Answer should apply to new Jersey as well.
Unfortunately, lawyer communication (and lack thereof) seems to be the biggest complaint clients have about their attorneys. I would say (again, unfortunately) the complaints are warranted in the majority of the cases.
You can change lawyers anytime you want. Just how much money the lawyer has a right to in fees and costs will be dependent on the fee agreement (which you should have a copy of) and the case law in New Jersey.
If I were in your shoes, I would do two things. First, consult with another lawyer. Discuss the case itself as well as his/her understanding of what, if any, rights the current attorney has to any fees and costs and what the new attorney can do to help you resolve those issues.
Second, you can file a complaint with the . According to that site ( http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/oae/faqs/faqs.htm#history ), you can file an ethics grievance against an attorney or dispute fees charged by an attorney by telephoning the toll-free Ethics/Fee Arbitration Hotline at 1-(800)-406-8594. The Office of Attorney Ethics page is at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/oae/index.htm .
Hope this helps.
/s Donald Kudler
First, your lawyer is required to give you a copy of your file. You have 2 years to file your lawsuit, so next you need to make sure a Complaint was filed in NJ Superior Court. If so, then you can go to a new lawyer. You can fire your lawyer at any time. Your old lawyer will be entitled to recoup costs and a fee based on the work he or she put into the case. Since you're on a contingency, those costs and fees only have to be paid back if you settle the case or get a jury award. If your lawyer did not file a Complaint within 2 years then you have a malpractice case and you should contact a new attorney regarding that. If you want to make an ethics complaint you can make one through the Office of Attorney Ethics at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/oae/index.htm.