Having shaken up the field of bricks-and-mortar retailing, technology entrepreneurs are using cut-price, online offerings to disrupt pricey professional services such as law and recruitment.

30 minutes using a city lawyer costs at least $200, but clients in the newly launched LawPath website can consult a specialist practitioner just for $29. On the other end in the spectrum, engaging legal recruitment may mean a placement and other hefty fees. Although not should you engage them with the hour, online, on RecruitLoop.

Technology entrepreneurs use cut-price, online offerings to disrupt professional services such as law.

Technology entrepreneurs are utilizing cut-price, online offerings to disrupt professional services like 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 website lets people who wouldn’t normally have the capacity to afford a legal professional to obtain a primary consultation for little outlay. Customers spend the money for low fee to question a question, LawPath pockets the fee and farms the enquiry out to a professional lawyer who consults at no cost. In return, lawyers may convert the session in to 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 the re-think, he says.

“The legal profession is amongst the last channels to get modernised. I really do view it as a disruption but not within a bad way – in an efficiency way. It’s about understanding how the world wide web can facilitate connecting with clients.”

The model found favour using the technology sector, he says, along with it start-ups comprising 50 per cent of clientele up to now.

“It’s not devaluing [lawyers’] work – they’re very happy for taking it,” Lupson says. “They’re up for your loss leader.”

The phrase disruptive innovation is commonly used to illustrate change that improves a service or product in such a way the market failed to expect.

Because the development of the internet it’s become increasingly common and happens a large number of times more frequently than 30 years ago, based on David Roberts, a vice-president of 77dexrpky Valley’s Singularity University.

“Disruption is actually all that matters by using a start-up,” Roberts told delegates in the Australia Association of Angel Investors conference around the Gold Coast recently.

RecruitLoop founder Michael Overell hopes his venture will give the recruitment sector a comparable jolt.

The site allows companies to engage independent recruitment consultants by the hour, rather than paying commission with an agency in accordance with 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 their system at San Francisco’s Launch Festival for top-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 your consultant’s time. RecruitLoop needs a commission as much as 30 per cent.

For clients, it’s a saving of 80-90 percent on fees charged by recruitment agencies, Overell says.

Recruiters are screened before being allowed to offer their services through the site and only one in eight has got the guernsey.

“We’re being really tough about maintaining quality,” Overell says.

The company uses 50 recruiters across Australia, Nz, Dubai and also the west coast in the US and intends to expand into other countries as demand builds.