Albany attorneys see bankruptcy cases skyrocket - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany attorneys see bankruptcy cases skyrocket

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

January 6, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany bankruptcy attorneys says they are seeing twice as many customers in the last 90 days, as the economic crisis mushrooms.

Attorneys say more South Georgians can't pay their bills, and are being forced to file for bankruptcy.

And they expect the problem to increase because of job losses.

Trustee Paul Cames heard 80 cases Tuesday in Chapter 7 bankruptcy hearings.   That is more than double the usual case load. Bankruptcy attorney Walter Kelley says his firm's Albany client list has doubled in the last 90 days.

Kelley said "The ordinary person does not have a bailout. Bankruptcy is their bailout. It's the only thing they can do."

Kelley says the credit crunch and economic crisis has forced people of all backgrounds to file bankruptcy.

 Kelley said " From people who were just big, really big substantial people who were real estate people. Down to people who just can't make it on hourly rates of 8 to 10 dollars an hour. You just can't live on that."

Kelley's firm has set up video tape conferencing equipment with their lawyers in Valdosta, because Albany has many more clients. And Kelley and Trustee Comes agree the number of bankruptcy cases is going to get much bigger,   because they are just now starting to hear from people who lost their jobs in layoffs.

Kelley said "Not yet. We have not seen that much yet. But we have talked to several people who are Cooper employees, and know that it's coming."

Kelley said predicted credit card interest rate hikes, and more South Georgia businesses declaring bankruptcy, are expected to keep bankruptcy court and attorney's very busy in coming months.

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