Startup Corner: Disruption ahead as Route1 aims to become the Tinder of the legal recruitment scene
Route1 is a new online marketplace connecting lawyers and legal employers. Just five months after launching its app in the UK, Route1 has over three thousand lawyers and fifty legal employers signed up, including Linklaters, Clifford Chance, Shearman & Sterling, Herbert Smith Freehills and DLA Piper, and has just won the Thomson Reuters/LegalGeek LawTech Startup Award for best marketplace. Route1 launched in Australia in September in order to capture both domestic and international demand from UK firms hiring talent from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and is planning further international expansion.
Route1’s rapid adoption follows other disruptive tech products like Uber and AirBnB, where technology has served to solve market inefficiencies by disintermediating established service providers that are often the cause of disaffection. In the case of legal recruitment, this will help to end bad practices such as cold-calling and vague job descriptions that fail to adequately serve candidates and employers and are rampant in the legal recruitment industry.
The Route1 app provides detailed information about targeted job opportunities to lawyers’ mobiles and is a win-win proposition for lawyers and employers alike. Route1 saves employers’ time and money by putting their jobs directly into the hands of appropriately qualified candidates and provides busy lawyers with a convenient way to quickly review relevant opportunities. The new offering is therefore much more convenient, efficient, direct and targeted than a job board or recruitment agency.
On Route1, lawyers are matched with relevant jobs based on their location, PQE and specialization, and remain anonymous until they decide to apply for a job. They then review summaries of their job matches posted directly by employers and, if interested, they can request full job descriptions and apply via email.
Route1’s value proposition is another transformative feature – employers can sign up and start posting jobs for free at www.route1.co and lawyers can get the app for free on the App store or Google Play. Because of its low cost base and high efficiency, Route1 have set their fee to employers at just 5% of first year’s salary, for successful hires only. This is just 20% of the cost of average recruitment agency fees. Route1 management believe that their technology and value proposition are equally applicable to other white-collar professional sectors such as accounting and finance.
Henry Allan, Founder and CEO of Route1, commented: “We believe that setting our fee rates at this level will help to rebase expectations in the industry and bring an end to high pressure cold-calling by recruiters, serving to put more control back in the hands of employers and candidates.”
This sentiment is echoed in Australia. Peter Nankivell, former Chairman of Herbert Geer in Melbourne sees the value proposition as compelling: “After almost 30 years in law firms as an Associate, Partner and most recently Chairman of Partners it is very clear to me that access to talented lawyers in an efficient, transparent and cost effective manner is an absolute essential to a modern legal practice. Route1 provides a solution that is far superior to traditional legal recruitment models for both the firm and the candidate.”
UK regional firms also find Route1’s proposition compelling, with Ashfords LLP investing in the company at an early stage. Andrew Betteridge, a Partner and Head of the Corporate and Commercial Teams at Ashfords says “Our venture capital team worked on the initial setup of the company and were immediately taken by the team and the concept. It’s a clever proposal that will resonate with all employers in the professional services – a simple, effective, well-priced alternative that gives us control of our recruitment in the market”.
Successfully placed candidates are also fans. Ben Prebble was hired as an in-house counsel through Route1 from Linklaters. “The app is a great idea, the whole experience was so simple from start to finish. Five minutes from download to applying for a job. I was also very pleasantly surprised by the quality of firms using it.”
In-house employers are also supportive. Joe O’Brien, Director at Howden M&A Insurance, commented: “Route1 was a great way to make a hire – quick, efficient and simple to use – we are very happy with the candidate we found and with the cost saving compared to recruiters, I would certainly recommend it.”
Charlie Gilbert-Wood, who also found a job on Route1, added: “From my experience recruiters didn’t add anything and it was nice not having to deal with someone. On Route1 you have more autonomy in what you are doing, you see jobs directly from employers and send your CV straight over…I like the ease of use, It’s seamless and immediate. If you respond to a recruiter’s ad, it could be a couple of days to get a response. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a legal job.”
Route1’s disruptive potential has already been the subject of some discussion in the press with Practice Source writing: “If the press reports are anything to go by this piece of disruptive technology may change the way legal recruitment is processed both by firms and applicants. We’d suggest that Route1 combined with new legal AI technologies may well be the death knell for legal recruiters of old.”
Henry Allan, CEO adds: “We have created a simple yet powerful tool for employers and candidates in the legal profession. We intend to be the go-to solution for law firms, banks and corporates of all sizes looking to hire legal talent. We are positioning our business for high growth and rapid international expansion. We are excited by our growth so far, much of which has come from word of mouth, and the positive feedback from lawyers and employers.”
Route1 was founded in the UK in 2015 and is headquartered in London. Its founders and investors include experienced lawyers, digital entrepreneurs, recruitment consultants and HR professionals. Route1 has just won the Thomson Reuters/LegalGeek Startup Award for best marketplace. Employers can sign up and start posting jobs for free at www.route1.co and lawyers can get the app for free on the App store and Google Play.