Credential Assembly Service (CAS) & Law School Reports
The Credential Assembly Service is a mandatory fee-based service provided by Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). For a one-time fee of $195 (as of April 2022), LSAC collects an applicant’s required documentation (LSAT score, LSAT writing sample, letters of recommendation, and transcripts) and uses it to create a Law School Report for the applicant that is forwarded to law schools upon the schools’ request.
Essentially, what the CAS really does is provide one account where you can view and fill out law school applications. This is the place where you’ll upload your admissions documents like your personal statement, and it’s also the place you’ll go to request your transcripts and send a request to your recommenders to have them upload their letter. Almost every single law school requires you to use CAS to apply (There may be one or two of the over 200 law schools that allow you to apply another way).
Usually applicants sign up for CAS 1-3 months before they wish to apply. LSAC recommends that applicants sign up and pay for CAS at least 4–6 weeks before they plan to submit applications. Applicants should also try to submit their transcripts and letters of recommendation to LSAC several weeks before applying to law school. It typically takes 2 weeks for LSAC to process a transcript or letter of recommendation once received, but it can sometime take longer.
Any documents you upload to CAS will be saved there and available to use if you change your mind and decide to wait to apply in the future, so long as you are within the 5 year timeframe from when you purchase CAS. This can also be a good option for students planning on working/taking gap time in between undergrad and law school. You can collect letters of recommendation from professors while they are still fresh, and they will be saved in your CAS account until you are ready to apply (within 5 years).
In addition to the CAS fee, LSAC charges $45 (as of April 2022) for each Law School Report that it sends.
Once an applicant submits a completed application to a law school, the school then requests a Law School Report for that applicant from LSAC. The report includes a cover sheet summarizing the applicant’s academic credentials (including all LSAT scores and a detailed breakdown of GPA) and encloses copies of the applicant’s transcript(s), letters of recommendation, and LSAT writing sample(s). A law school application file is not considered complete until it contains a Law School Report.
- Create a free LSAC.org account if you have not yet done so at https://os.lsac.org/Release/Logon/Access.aspx.
- Sign up for the Credential Assembly Service a minimum of 4–6 weeks before you plan to submit your law school applications. To sign up for CAS, log in to your LSAC account and click on Credentials under the Apply tab. At the bottom of the Credentials page is a button labeled Pay for CAS. Once you click on Pay for CAS, the registration fee will be added to your LSAC shopping cart. Check out to complete the purchase.
- Add all institutions of higher education that you have attended for which you need to submit transcripts (see Requesting Transcripts handout) by clicking on Add Institutions at the bottom of the Credentials page.
- Submit the application components necessary to complete your CAS file, including transcript(s), letter(s) of recommendation, and an LSAT score (after taking the LSAT and LSAT Writing test, no further action is necessary on your part to add the score to your CAS file).
- Pay the $45 Law School Report fee for each law school to which you intend to apply (can be paid when you submit each application).
- After submitting your applications, check your LSAC account periodically in order to confirm that LSAC sends a Law School Report to each of your schools. To do so, go to Applications then LSAC Completed.
- See the following site for more information:
Between the cost of the LSAT ($200), the Credential Assembly Service ($195), Law School reports ($45/school), and application fees paid to the schools themselves (0-90+), submitting law school applications can be a big financial burden to weather all at one time. Additionally, seat deposits are due in spring to hold your place once you decide which law school offer of admission to accept. It’s important to plan ahead for these costs so they don’t come as a surprise when it’s time to hit send.
AccessLex is a nonprofit dedicated to helping attorneys and future attorneys deal with the process of financing law school, and their free Paying for Law School handbook includes a handy budgeting sheet you can use to think about what your costs might be:
Budgeting Sheet for Law School Applications (2022)
- Apply for an LSAC Fee Waiver. If approved, this will waive your fees for the LSAT, Credential Assembly service(CAS), a certain number of Law School Reports, and unlimited access to practice exams (LSAC’s LSAT Prep Plus). The private test prep company LSAT Max will also offer a free LSAT course to students with the LSAC fee waiver. We recommend that applicants with financial need apply for the fee waiver and appeal if they are denied.
- Register for the Candidate Referral Service (free) at lsac.org to let law schools search for you by LSAT score. This may lead to some schools reaching out to waive their application fee for you to apply.
- Contact the admissions office for schools you wish to apply to and ask them if there is a way to get an application fee waiver for applicants who are having trouble affording the cost of applications.
- Attend law fairs such as UW-Madison’s Law School Expo or the In Person or Online LSAC Forums. Ask the representatives there if there are application fee waivers available- sometimes they can even give them out on the spot.
- Think ahead to the decisions you will need to make in the spring. If you actually wouldn’t want to go to that school if admitted, don’t waste your time and $45 Law School Report fee applying just because you want to have a certain number of “safety” schools. It’s not really a safety school if you won’t attend!
- How do I request a transcript?
- Which Transcripts Should I Request?
- How Does LSAC Summarize Multiple Transcripts?
Submit a completed Transcript Request Form to the Registrar’s Office of each undergraduate and graduate institution of higher education that you have attended, and pay any transcript request fees that the institution requires.
The Transcript Request Form is available in your LSAC account only after you (1) sign up and pay for the Credential Assembly Service and (2) add the institutions that you have attended in your LSAC account by clicking Add Institutions on the Credentials page.
Your transcripts must be submitted to LSAC directly by your schools and should be accompanied by the Transcript Request Form. LSAC will not accept transcripts submitted directly by you, even if they are official copies.
Don’t wait until the last minute to request your transcripts. It can sometimes take 1-2 weeks for the schools providing a transcript to mail it, and another 2-5 days for it to be received by LSAC. Then it typically takes LSAC up to two weeks to process the transcript(s), so request transcripts from your schools at least four weeks before you plan to apply to law school.
You must submit transcripts documenting all academic coursework completed at the following types of institutions:
- Undergraduate and graduate institutions
- Community colleges
- Law/medical/professional institutions
- Institutions attended for summer or evening courses
- Institutions attended even though a degree was never received
- Institutions from which you took college-level courses while in high school even though they were for high school credit (different than AP coursework)
- Institutions that clearly sponsored your overseas study, which means: (1) The courses received the sponsoring institution’s academic credit (not transfer credit); and (2) The course codes, titles, credits earned, and grades appear on the sponsoring institution’s transcript. Typically, these grades and credits are included in the sponsoring institution’s cumulative GPA.
- International institutions, if applicable (see http://www.lsac.org/jd/applying-to-law-school/international-transcripts)
Further, transcripts must be provided for an institution even if:
- Credit was transferred from an institution and it appears on another institution’s transcript.
- The institution is closed.
- Withdraw, incomplete, etc., are the only grades listed, or
- You have just enrolled.
For additional information, visit https://www.lsac.org/applying-law-school/jd-application-process/cas/requesting
LSAC calculates its own GPA for your undergraduate work at UW–Madison and also calculates a separate cumulative GPA for your entire set of undergraduate work at all institutions of higher education (including credits taken at a higher education institution during high school). With respect to these separate GPAs, LSAC has stated:
“There may be some variation between the GPAs calculated by LSAC and those calculated by colleges or students; however, the variation is rarely substantial. Because the law schools that use LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service understand its procedures, a slight variation in GPA is not likely to affect a law school’s admission decision.”