Having shaken up the industry of bricks-and-mortar retailing, technology entrepreneurs are employing cut-price, online offerings to disrupt pricey professional services like law and recruitment.
Half an hour with a city lawyer costs at the very least $200, but clients from the newly launched LawPath website can consult a specialist practitioner only for $29. At the opposite end of the spectrum, engaging legal recruitment may mean a placement as well as other hefty fees. But not should you engage them with the hour, online, on RecruitLoop.
Technology entrepreneurs are employing cut-price, online offerings to disrupt professional services like law.
Technology entrepreneurs are using 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 web page allows people who wouldn’t normally be capable of afford a legal professional to have a basic consultation for little outlay. Customers spend the money for low fee to question a question, LawPath pockets the fee and farms the enquiry over to a professional lawyer who consults at no cost. In return, lawyers may convert the session in a agreement for further work, something Lupson says has happened in 50 % of cases.
Lupson insists the arrangement is win-win, with small business 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 among the last channels to get modernised. I do view it like a disruption yet not within a bad way – within an efficiency way. It’s about understanding how the world wide web can facilitate connecting with clients.”
The model finds favour with all the technology sector, he says, with IT start-ups comprising 50 percent of clientele currently.
“It’s not devaluing [lawyers’] work – they’re more than pleased to consider it,” Lupson says. “They’re up for your loss leader.”
The term disruptive innovation can be used to illustrate change that improves a service or product in ways the market did not expect.
Because the coming of the internet it’s become increasingly common and happens a large number of times more frequently than 30 years ago, as outlined by David Roberts, a vice-president of 77dexrpky Valley’s Singularity University.
“Disruption is perhaps all that matters with a start-up,” Roberts told delegates on the Australia Association of Angel Investors conference around the Gold Coast recently.
RecruitLoop founder Michael Overell hopes his venture can give the recruitment sector the same jolt.
The site allows companies to engage independent recruitment consultants by the hour, as opposed to paying commission to a agency based on the candidate’s salary, when a role is filled.
RecruitLoop experienced a low-key launch eighteen months ago and ended up being to present an impromptu showcase from 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 has a commission as much as 30 percent.
For clients, it’s a saving of 80-90 per cent on fees charged by recruitment agencies, Overell says.
Recruiters are screened before being allowed to offer their services through the site and merely one out of eight receives the guernsey.
“We’re being really tough about maintaining quality,” Overell says.
The organization uses 50 recruiters across Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and also the west coast of the US and wants to expand into other countries as demand builds.