One lofty project at a time
MANILA, Philippines – Twenty years after revolutionizing the law profession by digitizing legal research, CD Asia continues to bring out new products envisioned to strengthen the delivery of justice and public accountability of government agencies.
Most companies thrive on positive news and developments like an expanding economy and booming sectors. The 20-year old CD Technologies Asia Inc. or CD Asia, on the other hand, counts on a unique set of opportunities to boost the growth of its business.
A chief driver of its expansion plans at the moment is the move of the Aquino administration to foster greater transparency in government as a means to curb corruption. “Many government agencies today give free access to its rules, regulations and processes to enhance public accountability. Consequently, more people are seeking out the laws and rulings of agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Department of Trade and Industry,” says Lou Dabao-Sitaca, president of CD Asia, which provides the above information in digital form, programmed with an advanced search engine.
Because businessmen, corporations and individuals need quick access to the laws and government issuances, CD Asia’s titles are moving more briskly. It used to be that only lawyers and magistrates were familiar with CD Asia’s products. These days, businessmen, accountants and Human Resource practitioners seeking new BIR, SEC and labor rulings have also become repeat clients. Both lawyers and non-lawyers are a captive market since few other companies have been able to match CD Asia’s nationwide distribution system or keep up with its track record for providing reliable information.
A byword among lawyers and magistrates alike, CD Asia revolutionized the legal profession in the Philippines in 1994 by making available legislation and court decisions on CD through its first product line, Lex Libris. “Lex,” as its users fondly call it, cut a lawyer’s library research time from days to minutes by compiling, among others, Republic Acts, Presidential Decrees and Proclamations and Administrative Orders. Since then, judges and others administering the law have reported turning out more timely and consistent decisions with the help of the Lex.
Over time, CD Asia has expanded its product lines and services to include organizing the legal information of key institutions like the Department of Agrarian Reform, Office of the Ombudsman, and Commission on Audit. By encoding, classifying, tagging and linking pertinent materials, CD Asia has made it easier for prosecutors, arbiters and auditors to search for relevant information necessary to implement their core functions. Before the advent of CD Asia, only the large law firms could afford to build and maintain a decent law library. The complete hardcopy collection of Supreme Court decisions alone could cost P500,000. “We offer the same material in optical media for P35,000,” smiles Sitaca, an Ateneo de Manila law graduate who worked for an NGO and together with four other friends dreamed of democratizing access to legal information through technology in the early ‘90s.
“Yes, we’ve levelled the playing field and have gotten a lot of commendations from solo practitioners, who would otherwise not be able to afford even the most basic reference material for their pleadings.”
The dream to continue priming the judicial and legal system with the help of technology continues to push forward Sitaca, Libunao and their two other partners — Rachel Romana-Waatti and non-lawyer Maria Nemia Herrera-Rafael. Their next project is the multi-volume Philippine Jurisprudence Encyclopedia. The first volume on Obligations and Contracts is set to be launched soon. The prime value of this projected series of volumes, a joint venture with AccessLaw, Inc., is that each will be organized so a researcher can easily follow the history of Supreme Court doctrines on specific topics as these evolved over the years through relevant cases. Like all other CD Asia products, it makes legal research easier and more accurate.To pen a decision, for instance, a judge or justice will no longer need to go through volumes and volumes of cases to cite a doctrine.
Very much like Apple users who are known to have a special affinity with the brand, CD Asia clients have a unique relationship with the products of the company. Just like Apple, CD Asia stakes its business on innovation, a product value that is hard to earn and better yet, is not easily replicated.
Source from: One Lofty Project Time