I gave a bankruptcy lawyer $1250 partial retainer payment. He did nothing for me and will only refund $299 can I get the full portion back?
My suggestion is that you should initially ask the lawyer for an accounting of how the retainer was used and for a refund of any unused fees. You should keep a record of any communications with the attorney. Assuming you cannot work something out with the attorney, then you should complain to the local bar association (in Los Angeles County, for instance, this is the Los Angeles County Bar Association), and then complain to the California State Bar if you are not satisfied.
I know that time is of essence in a Bankruptcy and since fee disputes take time, you may want to consider hiring a new attorney or perhaps going to a pro bono organization like Public Counsel in the meantime. Also, if you are able to file bankruptcy you will list in the petition a claim for money against the previous attorney which the bankruptcy trustee might pursue although any funds obtained would go to your creditors. CDC
If he did nothing--not merely that he was not successful, but that he did not do the work you paid him to do--you could sue him to recover the money. You could also report him to the California State Bar Association and/or the California Court System (which licenses attorneys). One or both may be able to provide some assistance and/or sanction or punish him.