Bad Ideas, Legal Ethics, LSAT

LSAT Tutor Improperly Claimed He Got Three Perfect Scores; The Internet (And a Competitor) Get Very, Very Angry

We don’t cover the goings-on over at Top Law Schools very often. It’s such a vibrant online community that one could devote an entire second site to meta-coverage of TLS. But over the last couple of weeks, a scandal of sorts has been unfolding. It is unusual enough that we figured it’s worth talking about.

An LSAT tutor by the name of Dave Hall has, for some time, promoted his business over at the TLS forums. He conducts most of his teaching over the internet, and he appears to have a fairly solid fan base on the site. Recently, he landed in some pretty hot water when his longstanding claim of receiving three perfect LSAT scores turned out to be untrue.

The site erupted in conspiracy theories, harsh criticism, and allegations of forging documents. In the midst of the hullabaloo, another tutoring service sued Hall for unfair competition.

Who knew the dreary world of test prep services could be so dramatic? Well, we spoke to Hall about the situation he’s found himself in. The story is not quite what you might expect….

Once rumors started flying around, Hall, who runs his business as Velocity Test Prep, attempted to address the situation:

As some of you know, immediately following the most recent LSAT I took (in September of 2009), LSAC placed a temporary hold on my score, rendering that score completely unavailable to me or to anyone else outside of LSAC. Here’s why they did it:

On the back of the scantron you use to take the LSAT is what’s called a Certifying Statement. This statement asks you to certify (clever name, right?) that “I am the examinee whose name appears on this answer sheet and that I am here to take the LSAT for the sole purpose of being considered for admission to law school,” and that you won’t cheat or help anyone cheat and so on.

Well, obviously, on all the tests I’ve taken after the first one (during that one I was strongly planning to go to law school), while law school has always been an open possibility, I’ve also known that I wasn’t really taking the LSAT for the sole purpose of law school admission.

So I didn’t certify that I was. On all of my last five tests, I’ve amended the certifying statement to read that: “I am NOT here to take the LSAT for the sole purpose of being considered for admission to law school.” This didn’t pose any problem until that sixth, most recent test.

In the post, he goes on to explain that he felt cheated for being honest, especially because he felt confident about his performance on that particular test. He said he honestly believed that he had not missed any questions, and had earned a perfect score.

As time passed, he explained to me, that confidence eventually became ingrained as something he simply believed as true. He believed it until recently at least, when, amid rumors on the site, he got back in touch with the folks at LSAC. After some back and forth, Hall finally discovered his score was not perfect. Instead it was a 177. (He has taken the test a total of six times. These are all of his scores from highest to lowest: 180, 180, 179, 177, 177, 177.)

At the same time, another southern California-based LSAT test prep company called TestMasters (and the company’s CEO, Robin Singh) filed a lawsuit against Hall, alleging unfair competition and deceptive business practices.

Hall says he has never had any affiliation, has never worked with, and has never even met the folks at TestMasters. From the looks of their website, they appear to be a larger business than Velocity, which is essentially a one-man shop.

We reached out to Singh and TestMasters for comment, but they have not responded.

On one level, it’s clear that Hall totally screwed up….

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