Meet our team

James Croyston

Founder and CEO

Kirk Dizon

Founder, Executive Committee

Marla Aquino-Batallones

Senior Counsel, COO

Felix Sy

Executive Committee

Johann Espiritu

Executive Committee

Bianca Padilla-Canilao

Senior Legal Counsel

bianca@docsparksolutions.com

Aira Tiangco

Senior Legal Assistant

aira@docsparksolutions.com

Aldrin Aldea

Junior Legal Assistant

aldrin@docsparksolutions.com

Orion Valledor

Junior Legal Counsel

orion@docsparksolutions.com

James Croyston

James Croyston

Founder and CEO

Founder and CEO James Croyston is an English-qualified solicitor, entrepreneur and commercial consultant with over a decade of experience advising large technology firms, multi-national corporations, reinsurance companies and financial data firms.

He trained at one of Europe’s top technology law firms, before going on to work as VP of Legal, Commercial Counsel and General Counsel for a range of international corporates and scale-ups. With a varied practice that spans general commercial, tech, corporate, finance and employment, James is passionate about providing commercially pragmatic and cost-effective solutions to clients.

Tell us something interesting about you.

Where are you from?” is always an interesting question for me to answer. Well…I was born in Australia, left for Germany aged 18 months (meaning German was my initial “first” language), diverted to Singapore (twice), grew up in the North of England (but went to school in the Midlands, back to the North for university, then London for a second degree and my first job), then settled in the Philippines (twice).

If you could throw a dinner party for anybody, living or dead, who would you invite?

Family! My wife and son, my sisters and their families (who all live on different continents), my late grandparents (three of whom I never met), and my late parents.

What is your favorite book?

One book that had a profound influence on me was Ernest Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea”. I was amazed at how Hemingway’s mastery of the English language could consistently engage the reader’s interest, despite the fact that, well, nothing really happens! 😊

Kirk Dizon

Kirk Dizon

Founder, Executive Committee

Kirk is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Carmenta Management, LLC, a late-stage venture capital firm, and general partner of Cendana International, a leading seed and early-stage fund-of-funds. He served as a Senior Advisor to Sentinel Dome Partners LLC, an event-driven hedge fund that he co-founded as COO.

Previously Co-Founder and Managing Director of Institutional Global Investors LLC, a multi-asset class investment platform where he was personally responsible for sourcing investments in Alibaba, Palantir and Twitter, Kirk currently serves on the Boards of Directors of ChrysCapital Investment Advisors and MWG Investment Holdings and as a Venture Partner of Founders Equity Partners.

Kirk earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Pepperdine University, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and an LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.

Marla Aquino-Batallones

Marla Aquino-Batallones

Senior Counsel, COO

Marla has almost a decade of experience in the legal process outsourcing industry. After being admitted to the Philippine Bar in 2012, she joined a leading legal process outsourcing company as Project Manager and specialized in eDiscovery, contract management and document review.

She is an expert in legal project management, and has experience leading the document review process during the discovery phase of high profile cases in the US and EU, during which she was also responsible for the supervision and quality control of large, dispersed litigation support teams.

Marla then worked as Legal Counsel at one of Philippines’ leading retail chains, where she was responsible for the full spectrum of commercial legal matters, from contract review, corporate housekeeping and corporate governance, to intellectual property protection and enforcement, and the management of internal labour disputes. She was then approached by a renowned legal process outsourcing company, which she joined as a Senior Attorney and Project Lead, before then joining DocSpark at its inception.

Marla obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Development Studies with Minors in Global Politics and Hispanic Studies from the Ateneo de Manila University in 2006, then received her Juris Doctor from Ateneo de Manila University School of Law in 2011.

Felix Sy

Felix Sy

Executive Committee

Felix Sy is Managing Partner of Insights Philippines Legal Advisors and has over 19 years’ experience advising and representing clients particularly in negotiating and documenting credit facilities, security structures and project finance. Felix now focuses on the energy and power sector, specifically build-operate-transfer (BOT) and public-private partnership and its variant arrangements.

Under his leadership, the banking and finance group at Quisumbing Torres won numerous industry accolades from 2010 to 2016. Felix has consistently ranked as a Global Expert in Corporate and Finance by Chambers Global and was Leading Lawyer for Banking and Capital Markets and Project Finance for five consecutive years in the IFLR1000 – The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial Law Firms.

Cited as a Leading Individual in Banking and Finance in Chambers Asia Pacific from 2013-2016, and Asia Pacific Legal 500 from 2012-2016, Felix admitted to practice law in California, USA. He is a member of the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University Law School Faculty.

Johann Espiritu

Johann Espiritu

Executive Committee

Johann is a senior partner at Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc and de los Angeles, the Philippines’ top law firm and is the Managing Director of Sapient Consulting, Inc., a Hong Kong-based investment advisory firm.

He formerly sat as Hong Kong Director in Equiom (Isle of Man) and Allied Finance Private (Switzerland), both international trust groups. He founded Odin Legal Intelligence, a legal process outsourcing company in the Philippines. Johann is a lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law where he teaches Information Technology Law and Venture Capital Transactions. He currently sits as a member of the Advisory Board of the Georgetown University Law Center.

Johann received his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1995 and his JD from the same university in 2000. He received his LL.M. from Georgetown University in 2004, admitted to the Philippine Bar in 2001 and the New York Bar in 2005. Johann is also a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners in the UK.

Bianca Padilla-Canilao

Bianca Padilla-Canilao

Senior Legal Counsel

bianca@docsparksolutions.com

Bianca has almost a decade of experience as a Philippine qualified attorney, having been admitted to the Philippine Bar in 2012. She worked at a leading legal process outsourcing company for many years before joining DocSpark, and now specializes in a broad range of legal services, including commercial document review, eDiscovery, title due diligence and estates.

Earlier in her career, Bianca spent four years at the Supreme Court of the Philippines working to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the judiciary.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be?

I’ve always had a passion for travel: experiencing the world and its uniqueness, trying new things and eating yummy food! If I was not a lawyer, I would love to be part of the tourism industry, ideally presenting a TV show that focuses on how to travel without breaking the bank. I’m an advocate for seeing the world without racking up debt in the process!


3 Rights and 1 Wrong. Can you guess which one isn’t true?

I can play mahjong all day and night!
This quarantine has sparked an unexpected love for K dramas.

I am a certified scuba diver.
I like to put ketchup on almost everything I eat.

Tell us about a person you admire

I recently watched the Netflix docuseries “Inside Bill’s Brain”, which reinforced my admiration for Bill Gates. He is passionate about making the world a better place and helping the less fortunate, but most importantly, he is doing something about it! There are not enough people like this in the world. He’s such an inspiration!

Aira Tiangco

Aira Tiangco

Senior Legal Assistant

aira@docsparksolutions.com

As our first clerk to survive the rigours of a fast-growing, early-stage company, Senior Legal Assistant Aira wears her crown with pride. She has settled comfortably into the DocSpark team, where she still holds the records for the most number of spreadsheets reviewed and the longest hours spent continuously in the office.

After graduating from university, she embarked on a career as a political researcher, contributing towards various social change initiatives at the Senate of the Philippines. She then joined the legal process outsourcing industry, initially as a Legal Assistant specialising in lease abstraction, contract reviews, due diligence and legal research. She currently works on the full spectrum of legal, financial and commercial matters, with a particular focus on accounting and human resource-related workstreams.

If you could invite anyone over for dinner, living or dead, who would it be and why?

My late grandmother, without question. It would be wonderful to continue exchanging stories with her, from politics to family life to fashion. She was truly a woman of substance.  I would’ve loved for her to have met my daughter too.

What is your favourite book?

I couldn’t recommend “House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende enough. When I was doing the International Baccalaureate program in high school, we had an entire semester dedicated to Magical Realism and this was book was our first assignment. I was captivated by Isabel Allende’s portrayal of the fictional Trueba family saga; the interlocking stories are so seamlessly incorporated into one beautiful story. This was the beginning of my obsession with Latin American novels!

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be?

I would probably be in the diplomatic service. It would’ve been awesome to represent the interests of fellow Filipinos overseas.

If you could invite anyone over for dinner, living or dead, who would it be and why?

If they were alive today, I would love to have Rabindranath Tagore and Albert Einstein over for dinner. I would just like to see for myself whether the manner of their conversation – as reported when they met back in 1930 – was accurate. My presence would be mostly passive and ornamental; I would just sit there and watch whether these two great minds would really gel together or clash. I would then ask them what they think of Donald Trump’s foundation shade.

What was the last book you read?

The last book I read was “Time Machine” by H.G. Wells. It is a story of a man who happens to invent a time machine and subsequently travels to multiple periods in the future that each end tragically. It is fairly short, but a remarkable read. as the sentiments expressed by the “Time Traveller” throughout his journey still echo today’s issues and values.

What was the last album you listened to?

I am currently into the music of Olafur Arnalds, particularly the album “…And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness”. The whole album is melodramatic yet calming, which helps to placate the undercurrent of anxiety that I – and many others – feel amidst these times. I have always loved listening to instrumental soundtracks, as they rely on emotions rather than words to express stories.

Aldrin Aldea

Aldrin Aldea

Junior Legal Assistant

aldrin@docsparksolutions.com

Since graduating from the University of the Philippines, Aldrin Aldea has specialized in research analysis, due diligence, background investigations and administrative services.

Prior to joining DocSpark, he was part of a leading global investigations firm, where he specialized in corporate due diligence and background checks in connection with applications for economic citizenship. He also held researcher and administrative support positions at the Philippine Naval Intelligence and Security Force and the ASEAN Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

If you could invite anyone over for dinner, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would love to have dinner with my father. As someone raised by a single mom (whom I hold so close to my heart), it would be nice to finally meet my dad and have some insight into what I’ll probably look like 30 years from now!

What is your favourite book?

“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe was one of the first historical fictions that I ever read. I just love the way it interweaves fragments of ideas and facts relating to the African pre-colonial culture, whilst also tackling universal ideas such as the reality of change and the challenges inherent in surmounting personal struggles.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Like many kids, I went through a phase when I dreamt of becoming a doctor, but I I’ve always had that inner urge to be a musician. Although these dreams never came to fruition, at least I can still air drum while singing in the shower! Every cloud…

Orion Valledor

Orion Valledor

Junior Legal Counsel

orion@docsparksolutions.com

Junior Legal Counsel Orion Valledor graduated from [the University of the Philippines] before becoming a member of the Philippines Bar. He has accumulated over five years of experience working in the legal process outsourcing, originally starting as a Legal Assistant whilst still in law school.

Orion specializes in commercial contract reviews, corporate compliance, due diligence and legal technology, and has a particular interest in the changes that machine learning and a data-driven world will bring to professional services and beyond.

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be?

I have always admired the passion, motivation and borderline delusional determination that drives athletes and artists. If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would (have liked to) be a professional tennis player who moonlights as a visual artist. Courts by day (tennis courts, not courts of law), studio or gallery by night.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

My parents wanted me to be a doctor. They mentioned this so often during my childhood that for the first thirteen years of my life, I also believed I wanted to be one! However, as a full-grown adult who is painfully aware that he lacks the natural aptitude for the sciences, I am just glad that my parents settled on constantly “mentioning” their dream for me (rather than insisting that I go down that route!). Thanks, Mama and Papa.

What is your favourite book?

I happened to read “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery just when I was just starting to discover the magic of books. As a 10 year old boy, I become totally consumed with the story of an 11-year-old orphan girl in rural Canada, a far cry from my own surroundings in Metro Manila. The timing as much as the story means that it will always have a special place in my heart.