Having shaken up the world of bricks-and-mortar retailing, technology entrepreneurs are utilizing cut-price, online offerings to disrupt pricey professional services such as law and recruitment.
30 minutes with a city lawyer costs no less than $200, but clients of the newly launched LawPath website can consult an expert practitioner only for $29. At the opposite end of your spectrum, engaging legal recruitment may mean a placement and also other hefty fees. However, not if you engage them with the hour, online, on RecruitLoop.
Technology entrepreneurs are using cut-price, online offerings to disrupt professional services such as law.
Technology entrepreneurs are using cut-price, online offerings to disrupt professional services including law. Photo: JESSICA SHAPIRO
Paul Lupson is chief executive of Lawpath, a start-up financially backed by Ludson who recently successfully exited budgetplaces.com, technology lawyer Nick Abrahams, partner at Norton Rose Australia, and technologist Andy Rose.
Lupson says the internet site lets people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford a legal representative to obtain a primary consultation for little outlay. Customers pay the low fee to ask a question, LawPath pockets the charge and farms the enquiry in the market to a specialist lawyer who consults for free. In exchange, lawyers may convert the session in a contract for further work, something Lupson says has happened in 50 percent of cases.
Lupson insists the arrangement is win-win, with small business and private individuals receiving professional advice and lawyers generating leads. Besides, lawyers’ modus operandi is overdue for any re-think, he says.
“The legal profession is among the last channels being modernised. I do see it being a disruption however, not in the bad way – within an efficiency way. It’s about discovering how the net can facilitate connecting with clients.”
The model finds favour using the technology sector, he says, along with it start-ups comprising 50 per cent of clientele to date.
“It’s not devaluing [lawyers’] work – they’re more than happy for taking it,” Lupson says. “They’re up for the loss leader.”
The term disruptive innovation is commonly used to describe change that improves a service or product in ways the market failed to expect.
Since the development of the world wide web it’s become increasingly common and happens 1000s of times more frequently than thirty years ago, in accordance with David Roberts, a vice-president of 77dexrpky Valley’s Singularity University.
“Disruption is perhaps all that matters using a start-up,” Roberts told delegates with the Australia Association of Angel Investors conference about the Gold Coast recently.
RecruitLoop founder Michael Overell hopes his venture will offer the recruitment sector a similar jolt.
The web page allows companies to engage independent recruitment consultants by the hour, rather than paying commission to a agency in line with the candidate’s salary, when a role is filled.
RecruitLoop had a low-key launch 18 months ago and would be to present an impromptu showcase of its system at San Francisco’s Launch Festival for high-tech start-ups earlier this month.
The annual event includes competitions judged by IT and venture-capital heavyweights including Rackspace’s Robert Scoble and Google Ventures’ Wesley Chan.
The standard spend by RecruitLoop customers is $1500 to $2000 per role, which buys 15 to 20 hours of a consultant’s time. RecruitLoop takes a commission of up to 30 percent.
For clients, it’s a saving of 80-90 % on fees charged by recruitment agencies, Overell says.
Recruiters are screened before being permitted to offer their services using the site and merely one out of eight gets the guernsey.
“We’re being really tough about maintaining quality,” Overell says.
The business uses 50 recruiters across Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and also the west coast of the US and plans to expand into other countries as demand builds.