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law | opinions & advice | applying to law school
Law School Data Assembly Service
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If you're applying to an ABA-approved law school — or one of several non-ABA-approved law schools — you'll be required to register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
The CAS is managed by the same organization that administers the LSAT, the Law School Admission Council.
The CAS serves two major functions: It consolidates your academic documents in a single report to be sent to law schools, and it adjusts all students' grades to a universal scale so that law schools can evaluate their applicants on an equivalent basis. After you register with the CAS and apply to law schools, the schools will contact the CAS directly to request your report.
What does the CAS include?
Your CAS file will consist of the following items:
How and when should you register?
Though the official CAS site recommends registering six weeks before you apply to law schools, it can't hurt to leave yourself a little more time than that. Consider registering in July, by either logging into the Law School Admission Council's website or through snail mail; for that, you'll find a paper form in the LSAT & CAS Registration and Information Book, which you can request online or find at most career centers.
When you register, you will pay for the total number of reports you'll need — a number that corresponds, logically, with the number of schools you'll be applying to. You do not need to provide the names of the schools to which you are applying and can pay for additional reports as you need them.
After you've registered, contact your undergraduate institution(s) in August to request that your transcript(s) be sent to the CAS. You'll find Transcript Request Forms available for downloading on the website, and in the aforementioned Registration and Information Book.
Requesting recommendations is an optional part of the service, unless a given law school specifies that your recs must be sent through the CAS. If you decide to go this route, download or send a hard copy of the Letter of Recommendation form to your recommender, who will complete the bottom portion of the form and return it to the CAS. You may have up to three letters of recommendation submitted to the CAS, and you will have a choice as to whether or not to delay the forwarding of your file until all letters have arrived.
Your LSAT scores will automatically become a part of your file after you take them, and at least one score is required before the CAS can forward your file to law schools. It is worth noting that you do not need to register for the CAS at the same time as you register for the LSAT.
After you've completed your CAS file and sent your applications to the law schools on your list, you can sit back and (ha!) relax. As you apply to law schools, they will request your file from the CAS. Your subscription with the service extends from five years from the date of registration.
Is there anything else you need to know?
You will need to pay a fee to register for the CAS, with one school report included in the initial payment. Each additional report will add to your cost
If you are unable to cover the cost of the service, you can request a fee waiver form through LSAC. They won't make it easy for you—you'll need to prove "the absolute inability to pay for the service" by submitting federal income tax forms and other documents—but it's worth a shot if you have a legitimate claim to financial difficulties.
The Law School Admission Council's website contains every minute detail you could want to know about the CAS and—your friend and ours—the LSAT. Peruse the site frequently to make you're staying on track. Good luck!