Having shaken up the realm of bricks-and-mortar retailing, technology entrepreneurs are using cut-price, online offerings to disrupt pricey professional services for example 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 for just $29. In the other end from the spectrum, engaging legal recruitment may mean a placement along with other hefty fees. However, not in the event you engage them from the hour, online, on RecruitLoop.
Technology entrepreneurs are employing cut-price, online offerings to disrupt professional services like law.
Technology entrepreneurs are employing 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 web page allows people who wouldn’t normally have the capacity to afford a legal professional to obtain a primary consultation for little outlay. Customers pay the low fee to inquire about a question, LawPath pockets the charge and farms the enquiry to an expert lawyer who consults for free. In return, lawyers may convert the session right into a contract for further work, something Lupson says has happened in 50 % of cases.
Lupson insists the arrangement is win-win, with business and private individuals receiving professional advice and lawyers lead generation. Besides, lawyers’ modus operandi is overdue for a re-think, he says.
“The legal profession is probably the last channels being modernised. I actually do look at it being a disruption yet not in the bad way – in an efficiency way. It’s about understanding how the web can facilitate connecting with clients.”
The model finds favour together with the technology sector, he says, by using it start-ups comprising 50 percent of clientele currently.
“It’s not devaluing [lawyers’] work – they’re very happy for taking it,” Lupson says. “They’re up to the loss leader.”
The word disruptive innovation is used to illustrate change that improves a service or product in such a way the industry failed to expect.
Since the advent of the world wide web it’s become increasingly common and happens a large number of times more frequently than three decades ago, based on David Roberts, a vice-president of 77dexrpky Valley’s Singularity University.
“Disruption will be all that matters having a start-up,” Roberts told delegates with the Australia Association of Angel Investors conference on the Gold Coast last month.
RecruitLoop founder Michael Overell hopes his venture will provide the recruitment sector a similar jolt.
The website allows companies to engage independent recruitment consultants with the hour, as an alternative to paying commission to an agency depending on the candidate’s salary, whenever a role is filled.
RecruitLoop possessed a low-key launch 18 months ago and was to present an impromptu showcase of the 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 typical spend by RecruitLoop customers is $1500 to $2000 per role, which buys 15 to 20 hours of the consultant’s time. RecruitLoop takes a commission as high as 30 per cent.
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 through the site and just one in eight receives the guernsey.
“We’re being really tough about maintaining quality,” Overell says.
The business uses 50 recruiters across Australia, Nz, Dubai along with the west coast of the US and plans to expand into other countries as demand builds.