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

Half an hour with a city lawyer costs a minimum of $200, but clients from the newly launched LawPath website can consult an expert practitioner for only $29. With the other end of the spectrum, engaging legal recruitment may mean a placement as well as other hefty fees. But not if you engage them by 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 including 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 permits people who wouldn’t normally have the ability to afford a legal professional to obtain a preliminary consultation for little outlay. Customers pay for the low fee to ask an issue, LawPath pockets the charge and farms the enquiry out to a specialist lawyer who consults at no cost. In return, lawyers may convert the session right into a agreement for further work, something Lupson says has happened in 50 percent of cases.

Lupson insists the arrangement is win-win, with small enterprise 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 probably the last channels to become modernised. I do view it as being a disruption but not in a bad way – within an efficiency way. It’s about finding out how the net can facilitate connecting with clients.”

The model finds favour with all the technology sector, he says, from it start-ups comprising 50 per cent of clientele currently.

“It’s not devaluing [lawyers’] work – they’re delighted to adopt it,” Lupson says. “They’re up to the loss leader.”

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

Considering that the coming of the web it’s become increasingly common and happens 1000s of times more frequently than thirty years ago, as outlined by David Roberts, a vice-president of 77dexrpky Valley’s Singularity University.

“Disruption is actually all that matters having a start-up,” Roberts told delegates with the Australia Association of Angel Investors conference about the Gold Coast recently.

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

The internet site allows companies to engage independent recruitment consultants by 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 18 months ago and was to present an impromptu showcase of its 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 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 able to offer their services through the site and only one out of eight has got the guernsey.

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

The corporation uses 50 recruiters across Australia, New Zealand, Dubai as well as the west coast in the US and plans to expand into other countries as demand builds.