That depends on whether you have a written fee agreement with the lawyer. You can always complain to the bar association closest to you.
Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.
I agree with my colleague.
This answer is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as final, nor is it intended as legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney before making any legal decisions. Gen Kimura, (832) 247-6932.
I think the ethics and law are pretty clear for CA attys: She must refund the part of the fees which were not earned, and she must give you back the file, as it is your property. See Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3-700(d)(1),(2).
Write a formal letter to the attorney asking an explanation and alternatively seeking refund on the unearned fees. If she does not respond within reasonable time, contact the State Bar's office with your grievance. If the application was one with a deadline, you should maintain records to show that the failure to file was not your fault.
This response is general in nature and cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. Any comments offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship. If you would like additional information based on this response, please contact my office at 510 657 7665 or 415 902 0832 to schedule a consultation.