Having shaken up the world of bricks-and-mortar retailing, technology entrepreneurs are using cut-price, online offerings to disrupt pricey professional services like law and recruitment.
Around 30 minutes using a city lawyer costs at the very least $200, but clients from the newly launched LawPath website can consult an expert practitioner for just $29. With the opposite end in the spectrum, engaging legal recruitment may mean a placement and 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 employing cut-price, online offerings to disrupt professional services such as 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 permits people who wouldn’t normally have the ability to afford a lawyer to have a basic consultation for little outlay. Customers pay the low fee to question a matter, LawPath pockets the fee and farms the enquiry in the market to a professional lawyer who consults free of charge. In return, lawyers may convert the session in to a contract for further work, something Lupson says has happened in 50 % of cases.
Lupson insists the arrangement is win-win, with small company and private individuals receiving professional advice and lawyers lead generation. Besides, lawyers’ modus operandi is overdue for the re-think, he says.
“The legal profession is probably the last channels to get modernised. I actually do view it like a disruption although not within a bad way – in an efficiency way. It’s about discovering how the web can facilitate connecting with clients.”
The model has found favour using the technology sector, he says, with IT start-ups comprising 50 per cent of clientele currently.
“It’s not devaluing [lawyers’] work – they’re very happy to take it,” Lupson says. “They’re up to the loss leader.”
The word disruptive innovation is commonly used to describe change that improves a product or service in such a way the current market did not expect.
Because the development of the internet it’s become increasingly common and happens 1000s of times more often than three decades ago, according to 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 in the Gold Coast last month.
RecruitLoop founder Michael Overell hopes his venture can give the recruitment sector a comparable jolt.
The web page allows companies to engage independent recruitment consultants through the hour, as an alternative to paying commission to an agency in line with the candidate’s salary, when a role is filled.
RecruitLoop possessed a low-key launch eighteen 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 average spend by RecruitLoop customers is $1500 to $2000 per role, which buys 15 to 20 hours of your consultant’s time. RecruitLoop requires a commission up to 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 able to offer their services using the site and merely one in eight will get the guernsey.
“We’re being really tough about maintaining quality,” Overell says.
The organization uses 50 recruiters across Australia, New Zealand, Dubai along with the west coast from the US and wants to expand into other countries as demand builds.