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.
Thirty minutes using a city lawyer costs no less than $200, but clients of the newly launched LawPath website can consult a professional practitioner for only $29. On the other end from the spectrum, engaging legal recruitment may mean a placement and other hefty fees. But not when 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 use cut-price, online offerings to disrupt professional services for example 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 lets people who wouldn’t normally have the capacity to afford an attorney to obtain a primary consultation for little outlay. Customers pay the low fee to inquire about a matter, LawPath pockets the charge and farms the enquiry in the market to a professional lawyer who consults totally free. In return, lawyers may convert the session into a agreement 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 generating leads. Besides, lawyers’ modus operandi is overdue for any re-think, he says.
“The legal profession is one of the last channels being modernised. I really do see it like a disruption although not in a bad way – in 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 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 can be used to illustrate change that improves a service or product in ways the current market failed to expect.
Because the advent of the world wide web it’s become increasingly common and happens a huge number of times more often than thirty years ago, as outlined by David Roberts, a vice-president of 77dexrpky Valley’s Singularity University.
“Disruption is actually all that matters with a start-up,” Roberts told delegates at the Australia Association of Angel Investors conference on the Gold Coast recently.
RecruitLoop founder Michael Overell hopes his venture can give the recruitment sector a similar jolt.
The website allows companies to engage independent recruitment consultants from the hour, rather than paying commission with an agency based on the candidate’s salary, whenever a role is filled.
RecruitLoop had a low-key launch eighteen months ago and was 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 any consultant’s time. RecruitLoop takes a commission of up to 30 per cent.
For clients, it’s a saving of 80-90 per cent on fees charged by recruitment agencies, Overell says.
Recruiters are screened prior to being allowed to offer their services via the site and simply one out of eight receives the guernsey.
“We’re being really tough about maintaining quality,” Overell says.
The business uses 50 recruiters across Australia, New Zealand, Dubai as well as the west coast from the US and intends to expand into other countries as demand builds.