If you are applying to law school, you are likely aware that there are several steps involved in the process. One way to make it simpler is by understanding the Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
Perhaps you are currently in the process of preparing to sign up for the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) and working to obtain all of your college or university transcripts and letters of recommendation.
Maybe, if you are like most people, you are wondering what exactly the CAS report is. We’ll give you all the details below.
What is the LSAC Credential Assembly Service?
The LSAC Credential Assembly Service, managed by the same organization that administers the LSAT, allows you to send all of your important documents all for your law school applications at once. It actually makes it easier for you to apply to law school, and it helps to standardize the admissions process and ensures all applicants submit the correct information.
What does CAS include?
Your account includes the following:
- Transcripts from all colleges and universities you have ever attended
- LSAT Score(s), LSAT Writing Sample and Admission Index (not all law schools ask LSAC to calculate the Index)
- Prior Matriculation and Misconduct and Irregularities in the Admission Process indications
- Academic Summary Report
- Letters of Recommendation
Your account also includes the electronic application processing for some non-ABA-approved schools and all ABA-approved schools, according to the LSAC website.
What is in the CAS academic summary report?
The CAS report’s academic summary report shows admission officers helpful information about your academic record and grade trends. Schools see a summary of your academic performance by year (or semester if you only completed one semester in an academic year).
Among other data points, schools can see your degree-granting GPA and your cumulative GPA from your very first college class all the way through college graduation. That is the GPA they must report to the ABA.
Take a look at the “Transcripts” page of your LSAC.org account to look at your own summary.
How much does CAS cost?
The service costs $195 to create an account, plus $45 for each CAS report sent to law schools. For extreme cases of need, fee waivers are available.
Who qualifies for LSAC waiver?
To qualify for an LSAC waiver, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien (must have I–151 or I–551 Alien Registration Receipt Cards), or U.S. national
- Be a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient with an application for deferred action
- Be a Canadian or Australian citizen, permanent resident, Protected Person or Convention Refugee
- Fill out and submit a fee waiver application with proof of tax forms and other LSAC-requested documents
How long is CAS good for LSAC?
Your account remains active for five years. However, this five year period is determined by when you register for the LSAT. If you register for the LSAT during your CAS period, the access time will be extended from the most recent LSAT registration point.
Is the CAS necessary for law school?
Almost all, if not all, ABA-approved law schools require CAS reports in their admissions processes. And, for schools that use CAS, they won’t consider an applicant until the CAS report is complete.
While there is a required cost, the time you save as an applicant is definitely a benefit. The LSAC does an amazing job processing documents efficiently and quickly. Think about it. If you planned to apply to six law schools individually, you would have to ask your recommenders to send out six sets of letters of recommendation, pay for six sets of transcripts to be sent to your law schools from all of the colleges and universities you attended, have your LSAT score and writing sample sent to six different schools, etc. That would take a long time, and you would not have a central site to monitor receipt of the materials.
Can you imagine how long it would take each school to process each applicant’s materials, how much would get lost in cyberspace or U.S. mail, or how much schools would need to charge for an application fee to pay staff to perform these functions? LSAC’s website states that they can process a transcript in about two weeks and an electronic letter of recommendation in about a day. A central processing service such as CAS certainly helps you get your decisions faster, too.
How does CAS work?
According to the LSAC, when the law school is ready to receive your report, they will contact the LSAC directly. If your CAS report is complete, and after you have applied to a law school, the data from the CAS electronically flows into the law school’s database. Additionally, a PDF version of the CAS report gets generated. Admission officers look at your scanned writing sample, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and academic summary page via the PDF.
When should I buy CAS?
The LSAC recommends registering as soon as six weeks before applying to law school, but you can register even earlier to make sure you gather all of the required materials.
How do I register for Credential Assembly Service?
Steps for registration include:
- Create an LSAC account here
- Sign up and pay for CAS through your LSAC account
- Add all of the higher education institutions you have attended that you will need to submit transcripts for
- Submit the application components required to complete your CAS file
- Pay the $45 law school report fee for each law school that you attend to apply to.
- Check your LSAC account regularly to confirm that the law school reports have been sent to your intended schools.
How can I make the most of my law school report?
We assembled some little-known facts about the CAS to help you understand its importance to your law school and how you can make a good impression on admission officers.
Use Proper Nouns and Don’t Have Missing Capital Letters
Use capital letters for proper nouns, but not common nouns. Check out Grammarly or Grammar Monster for a refresh on your basics. Admission Officers see the forms that come with the letters of recommendation. Many applicants today are typing their application, forms, and CAS data in all lower-case letters. Keep in mind that schools see what you type into the system or fill out on a form. Attention to detail matters.
Review Your LSAT Score
As the CAS is managed by the LSAC, your LSAT score report will be submitted to the schools you apply to through it. However, before your applications are submitted, the U.S. News & World Report recommends that you review your score report to ensure that it’s accurate.
Every Component Matters
Law schools that read files holistically, such as Stetson University College of Law, pay close attention to all components of the CAS, as well as the application, personal statement, and other required and optional items. The CAS provides critical insight into who you are beyond the numbers. Letters of recommendation, courses taken, grade trends and even the writing sample get reviewed and become part of your permanent record after you matriculate.
Customize Your Essays
Instead of providing the same essay for each law school, taking the time to customize your essay for each law school can help you craft a more compelling and personalized application. Pay attention to the recent news from the law school and research faculty members to tailor your personal statement.
Send Thank You Notes
Finally, here is a really, really little-known fact about the CAS. LSAC sends your recommenders thank you notes to acknowledge their effort to help you. It only takes a few minutes, and can help maintain a positive relationship with your recommenders.
Applying to Law School at Stetson
If you’re looking to apply to Stetson Law, our admissions team is here to answer any questions you might have. Click here to learn more about our J.D. application instructions and process.
Topics: Applying to Law School