Hot Docs: Lawsuit claims LSAT prep company founder lied about perfect score

May 17, 2012

LSAT Score changeLast month, I read an article from the ABA Journal about how those who score the highest on the LSAT are becoming increasingly unlikely to actually apply to or attend law school.

Maybe that’s because the high scorers decided to teach LSAT prep courses instead.

For example, Robin Singh, the founder and owner of LSAT prep company TestMasters, claims to have scored a 180 on the LSAT a world record of 12 times.

Singh claims that he’s also attained a perfect score – that is, without missing a single question – once.

David Hall, the founder and owner of Velocity Test Prep LLC, another LSAT prep company, claimed to have achieved a score of 180 on the LSAT three times.

Hall also claimed that one of those three 180s was a perfect score.

Singh took exception with Hall’s claims and, after some apparent investigation, discovered that the claim was fraudulent, and sued Hall and Velocity over it.

Hot Doc: Robin Singh Educ. Serv. v. Hall

Source: Thomson Reuters News & Insight – National Litigation

What was fraudulent about these claims?

Though it isn’t abundantly clear from the complaint, it seems that the fraud all stems from one test that Hall took on September 26, 2009.

This is the test on which Hall claimed that he answered every single question correctly.

According to Singh’s complaint, not only did Hall fail to achieve a perfect score, he didn’t even score a 180 on the September 2009 LSAT (though he did indeed receive 180s on two earlier occasions, along with one 179 and two 177s).

In addition, Singh alleges that Hall forged official LSAT records to corroborate his claim, and posted these forgeries on various websites online.

This charge is somewhat verified on Velocity’s own website, which has posted an “open letter from Dave.”

The letter explains that, because Hall wouldn’t complete the September 2009 LSAT’s Certifying Statement attesting that he was taking the LSAT for the sole purpose of being considered for admission to law school, the test results were withheld by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).

The letter goes on to say that Hall thoroughly believed that he had achieved a perfect score on that exam, and so he went on the Internet claiming as much.

When others confronted Hall about the veracity of this claim, he decided to create “a document intended to simulate the score report that [Hall] believed LSAC was withholding” (LSAC recently released Hall’s score – he got a 177).

In other words, Hall created the forged document that Singh’s complaint alleges that he did, but with the added element that Hall claims to have done so in good faith.

One would think that, with the advanced logical reasoning skills that Hall must have to achieve such high scores on the LSAT, he would be able to come up with a better defense.

The good faith defense would only work in Hall’s case if LSAC had actually communicated to him that he had indeed attained a perfect score, which never happened.

To make things worse for Hall, it doesn’t appear from his “open letter” that he was actually 100% sure that he answered every question perfectly: Hall explicitly admits that his “absolute worst-case on that test” was a score of 179.

Okay, so Hall forged the alleged document, and did so without a viable legal defense.

Does that mean Singh will be able to recover damages?

That question opens up several others.

For instance, did Hall’s misrepresentations about that one LSAT score actually cause him a marked increase in business?

Were Hall’s claims widespread enough to “undermine consumer trust” in “TestMasters and the entire test preparation industry,” as the complaint claims?

Did Hall steal customers from TestMasters through these false claims?

Answering these questions affirmatively will take some work on Singh’s and TestMasters’ part, but they’ll be far likelier to succeed than Hall’s “good faith” defense.

In any case, though both Hall and Singh are among the highest scoring of LSAT test takers and never went to law school, both are creating work for attorneys.