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

Half an hour with a city lawyer costs no less than $200, but clients in the newly launched LawPath website can consult a professional practitioner only for $29. With the opposite end in the spectrum, engaging legal recruitment may mean a placement along with other hefty fees. However, not if you engage them through the hour, online, on RecruitLoop.

Technology entrepreneurs use cut-price, online offerings to disrupt professional services including 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 site allows people who wouldn’t normally have the capacity to afford an attorney to have an initial consultation for little outlay. Customers spend the money for low fee to question a question, LawPath pockets the charge and farms the enquiry out to an expert lawyer who consults totally free. In turn, lawyers may convert the session in 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 any re-think, he says.

“The legal profession is among the last channels to get modernised. I do view it like a disruption but not inside a bad way – inside an efficiency way. It’s about learning how the net can facilitate connecting with clients.”

The model finds favour with the technology sector, he says, by using it start-ups comprising 50 percent of clientele up to now.

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

The word disruptive innovation can be used to describe change that improves a service or product in ways the market did not expect.

Ever since the advent of the world wide web it’s become increasingly common and happens 1000s of times more often than thirty years ago, in accordance with David Roberts, a vice-president of 77dexrpky Valley’s Singularity University.

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

RecruitLoop founder Michael Overell hopes his venture will offer the recruitment sector an identical jolt.

The web page allows companies to engage independent recruitment consultants with the hour, rather than paying commission with an agency based on the candidate’s salary, each time a role is filled.

RecruitLoop had a low-key launch eighteen months ago and was to present an impromptu showcase of their 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 normal spend by RecruitLoop customers is $1500 to $2000 per role, which buys 15 to 20 hours of any 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 prior to being able to offer their services via the site and only one out of eight will get the guernsey.

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

The business uses 50 recruiters across Australia, Nz, Dubai and the west coast of your US and plans to expand into other countries as demand builds.