“The attorneys weren’t taking anymore clients,” he said.
About 100,000 petitions were filed nationwide in the first three days this week, according to Burlingame, Calif., company Lundquist Consulting, which compiles bankruptcy statistics. The firm said 102,863 were filed last week, a record expected to fall.
“My best advice is, don’t stand near the courthouse,” said Kate Williams, spokeswoman for Money Management International, a nonprofit financial-counseling service. “You’re going to get run over with all those filers.”
Karen Redmond, spokeswoman from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, said the agency has heard reports of recent spikes in filings, but would not comment further.
The Alexandria court’s computer system has been holding up during the deluge of filings in the past month, but Mr. Miller said he has workers on-call in case of problems this weekend.
The clerk’s office expects last-minute bankruptcy cases to keep them swamped Monday and Tuesday.
Representatives for the clerk’s offices at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia and Maryland did not return repeated calls for comment.
Bankruptcy attorneys have been busy completing the filings.
The Baltimore office of Grossbart, Portney & Rosenberg averages about 45 filings per month. In October, they probably will get about 150, said lawyer Robert Grossbart.
“It started increasing about a month ago and has gotten progressively worse,” he said.
As of yesterday, they were only accepting more clients “if my secretary wants to kill herself,” he joked.
The office will be working through the weekend to finish, he said.
Bankruptcy and tax attorney Edward Gonzalez is twice as busy as normal, putting in 60-hour weeks as the number of bankruptcy filers spiked.
Mr. Gonzalez has had to turn people away.
“The people calling [Thursday], I told them I can’t do it, I only have so much time,” he said.