Law School Applications: Credential Assembly Service (CAS)
The Credential Assembly Service (CAS) is a service of LSAC, and serves as a kind of clearinghouse of information related to your application. CAS centralizes all your data, including your academic record, your LSAT score(s) and your letters of recommendation. In addition, access to online law school applications is included with your CAS registration. All ABA-approved schools require the online completion and transmission of applications.
In short, while you can take the LSAT without registering for CAS, if you are applying to law school, you must purchase and create a CAS account. (Purchasing CAS is not the same thing as registering for an LSAC law student account—if you haven’t yet paid an additional fee, beyond the LSAT fee, you haven’t yet registered for CAS.) If you were granted a fee waiver for the LSAT, it will also apply to the CAS registration and a total of six CAS law school reports. Applications for the following year’s admission are generally available online after September 1st.
After registering, you are responsible for having all undergraduate schools send your official transcript to CAS. Even if you only took one course at another institution, you must have an official transcript sent, unless you took the classes through a UMass Domestic Exchange or study abroad program. Courses which were transferred to UMass appear on your UMass transcript as credit earned but LSAC needs the grades as well. More details about requesting transcripts can be found here.
When you submit an application to a law school, the school will receive a copy of your Law School Report from CAS. This is a compilation of all of the information that you forward to CAS. You will be charged a fee for each Law School Report (for 2019-20, $45 per school), payable at the time you apply. This is in addition to the initial CAS registration fee and the application fees for each individual law school.
The Law School Reports includes:
- your year-by-year grade and academic credit summary
- copies of all your transcript(s)
- your GPA for each year and each institution, as well as your cumulative GPA for each degree obtained
- a description of your overall grade distribution
- the mean GPA of other students at your undergraduate school who have registered with CAS and your percentile rank among those students
- your LSAT scores, including cancellations and absences
- an average LSAT score if you have taken the test more than once
- a copy of your LSAT writing sample
- the mean LSAT score for students from your undergraduate school
Your GPA as computed by CAS may not be exactly the same as your UMass Amherst GPA. This is because LSAC handles certain grades differently. The most common difference for UMass students is when you retake a class—UMass does not include the first time you took the class in calculating your GPA. LSAC does include that first grade, so your GPA as reported by LSAC may be lower.
CAS also acts as a clearinghouse for letters of recommendation. Recommenders only have to send one original letter to CAS which will send it out to the law schools you apply to. All law schools require that you submit your letters of recommendation through CAS. You can find much more information on recommendations here.
The CAS online application process is not always as user-friendly as you’d like it to be (but it does get a little better each year). Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that you consult LSAC’s overview of the application process and CAS FAQ page before and during your application process. This will give you a detailed overview of the process, and greatly reduce your stress and confusion. Also, do not hesitate to call LSAC whenever you are having a problem—often, a phone call is the quickest way to a solution.