As the economy worsens, bankruptcy filings are on the rise. According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, consumer filings rose to 1.06 million in 2008, compared with 801,840 during 2007. The ABI based its study on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center. Additionally, the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys jumped by one-third in 2008, to an estimated 3,200 practicing lawyers. "Consumers are under great financial stress, with no immediate end in sight," said ABI executive director Samuel Gerdano. More than 1.3 million people in the United States are expected to file in 2009. While this is a relatively small part of the U.S. population, the number demonstrates that bankruptcy is not just something for ‘someone else,’ but instead, something for those who find themselves overwhelmed by today’s unsteady economy. Bankruptcy can provide a fresh start for the individual who finds him or herself in a difficult financial situation. So, while filing for bankruptcy may have in the past been something that no one wants to talk about, for many, it ends up being the light at the end of the tunnel—the saving grace that allows them to get their life back on track.