The number of people filing for bankruptcy in South Florida reached its highest level since October 2005 when sweeping reforms to U.S. bankruptcy laws led to a crush of people seeking protection from creditors.
''I've had more clientele come in than ever before that are unemployed,'' said Miami bankruptcy lawyer Patrick L. Cordero. ``There are just no jobs.''
Many of the people Cordero is seeing worked in the real estate industry, such as mortgage brokers, appraisers and construction workers.
The 2,247 consumer bankruptcy filings in South Florida in March were the most since 11,286 filings were recorded in October 2005. Last month's filings represent a 57 percent jump from the 1,426 filings in March 2008 and a 35 percent increase from February.
''I'm seeing more clients, but by the same token, I'm having less income because they don't have the money to pay me,'' Cordero added. He has worked out payment plans for some clients.
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