Hello Expat Community, There are several rumors going around. The purpose of this note is to address those rumors and set expectations. First and foremost, my apologies for the delay with this note. This week has been
Hello Expat Community,
There are several rumors going around. The purpose of this note is to address those rumors and set expectations.
First and foremost, my apologies for the delay with this note. This week has been quite busy in light of the situation. I am getting hundreds of emails on a daily basis, in addition to Facebook and What’s app messages. I cannot answer everything everywhere all at once, although I wish I could
Regarding the rumors, there are so many of them, some of them true, most of them not. I am not going to invest anytime with what isn’t factual. You can make your call on that.
Closing the Business and Bankruptcy
Outlier Legal has not filed for bankruptcy, and we have not closed the business. Will we close the business and file for bankruptcy? Well, now it depends on how the next days, weeks and perhaps months develop and the level of support we receive from the community.
The financial situation
During the past 12 months (since the pandemic, but 2022 especially), we have experienced significant financial challenges.
At the end of the day, I am the manager of the business and it is my responsibility to make sure things are done correctly, and I did not.
Challenges we encountered:
- We entered 2022 with forecasts and projections based in the trends and behaviors of the market in 2021. You look at the past and present to make decisions for the future. While 2020 and 2021 were challenging years, there was a high demand for people moving to Costa Rica and the type of services we provide. The demand collapsed. There were three events that affected the demand for our services in CR. To wit:
- The high inflation experienced during the first months of 2022 which resulted in people wanting to spend less.
- The increase in CAJA fees in March.
- The new digital nomad visa process.
While the digital nomad process was later in the year, we started the first quarter with a budget based in predictions made in 2021.
Those events reduced demand for services. We had the same expenses, but not the same income.
We did not cut expenses soon enough. Primarily payroll. It was very difficult to consider letting people go.
- Outstanding invoices. As of today, we have over $100,000 USD in receivables that clients are not paying. During 2022 we had over $200,000 in lost revenue due to clients not paying the invoices for services rendered.
- Cancellation of services. During 2022, we had more than half a million dollars in cancellation of services. Clients who had already signed for services and/or paid their invoices who cancelled the service and required a refund.
- In recent days we have received requests for cancelations of services and refunds for more than 150 cases, which adds up to more than $400,000. This makes the whole situation even more complicated.
Letting go of staff
I could not pay staff anymore and had to let most of them go. At the moment, there are five people who continue to do work. After depleting all of our personal savings into the business, I could not support staff anymore.
There are good people and there are bad people.
First, I would like to praise the people who have supported us (and supported me personally) during all these years and during these hard times.
I love my job and I love helping people. The Mission Statement of our company is:
We help Outliers achieve their dreams and we dedicate ourselves to develop and implement creative ways to do so.
I come from a non-for-profit background. The first experience I got doing immigration law was in Western New York working for non-for-profits assisting low-income immigrants.
I incorporated that passion to our business. I believed that people move for bigger reasons, and that people should be protected under the law. Over a decade, we have invested a lot of time and effort in improving the situation of the expat community in Costa Rica, have both failed and we have succeeded.
People who know me, know the passion and dedication with which we do our job. I will always be thankful for the people who understand and know what we do, and who have faithfully supported us during all these years.
However, there are people both inside and outside the business that rather be part of the problem, instead of part of the solution, people who are invested in seeing us fail. There are former associates that are calling up clients to take them away and speak ill of the business. I wish them the best.
What will happen with the current cases and work being done?
- Immigration Cases
Immigration Cases are divided in four categories:
- Cases already approved. These cases have already received an approval by the immigration department, and we must complete (or have been completed) the CAJA registration and the procurement of the DIMEX. Outlier Legal will complete these cases.
- Already filed and complete. We are waiting for the Immigration Department to issue a resolution on the case. Outlier Legal will complete these cases.
- Already filed and incomplete. A document or several documents may be missing (a birth certificate, a background check, a court document, or any other document, it depends on your case) and must be filed with the Immigration Department in order for them to issue the resolution. Outlier Legal will complete these cases.
- Document Procurement stage. This are cases that have not been filed and we are in the process of procuring all the documents to file the applications. Outlier Legal will complete these cases.
- Real Estate Cases.
There cases in several stages and with a variety of work being done. These cases we can complete or transfer to another attorney.
- Business Cases.
Similarly, there are a variety of cases in various stages. These cases we can complete or transfer to another attorney.
Regarding the cases, the clients have the prerogative to cancel the service and request the files to be transferred to another attorney. Please note that payment will be required for services rendered and outstanding invoices. If you do not believe in our business, you are free to go, if you believe in our business, you are welcomed to stay.
To request your case file, please email: email@example.com and we will arrange for the transfer of the documents.
We will continue to provide updates to our clients.
How can you help?
I will continue running the business until the end of me.
The company will not be same moving forward. We must adjust. We will continue serving the expat community to the best of our ability.
I have a duty of loyalty to my staff, to my clients, to my wife, to my family, friends, and to myself. I cannot live with myself if I cannot fulfil my obligations to all the parties involved.
Please support our business the following ways:
- If you have an outstanding bill, please pay it.
- Help me find a job for my employees that I had to let go. There are plenty of hard-working people with a good heart. If you can help me place them, I will be eternally thankful. If you had a caseworker who was particularly helpful, please help them find a new job. If you are able to help relocate my staff, please send an email to Pablo Brenes at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have further questions, please feel free to reach me via email. I am not responding to FB messages or whats app messages.