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Byline: Lisa Haarlander
May 7--Across the nation and here in Western New York, more people are lining up to file bankruptcy -- many of them rushing to beat tough new bankruptcy laws that could take effect as early as next January.
Filings in the first three months of the year are up 12 percent in the Buffalo area and 34 percent around Rochester, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of New York.
And 97 percent of the increase comes from more people filing for Chapter 7 -- which wipes out many debts completely and let's people start fresh.
That's also the section that would be tightened the most under the proposed bankruptcy reform. The new laws would make it tougher to file for Chapter 7 and steer more people into Chapter 13, where debtors must repay part of what they owe.
Some of the area's biggest bankruptcy attorneys believe it's the new law -- not the economy or social ills or easy access to credit cards -- that …