Registering for LSDAS
Law Services processes not only your LSAT, but also your transcripts, recommendations and evaluations. The portion of Law Services which processes your transcripts is called the LSDAS (Law School Data Assembly Service).Instead of sending transcripts to each law school, you send one to Law Services. Law Services receives your transcripts from all colleges and prepares a report for the law schools.
That report includes:
You must register for the service, send your transcripts, and follow up to make sure everything has been received.
Where do you find the page? Under "Apply -- Credentials." (The color scheme has changed slightly in 2011, but the photo is the same.)
The Letter of Recommendation (LOR) service has its own page, over here. This page deals only with the LSDAS, or transcript summary report.
What Does the LSDAS Report Say?
Your transcript analysis does not give any information about the actual courses; instead the transcripts are attached for the law schools' review. The report shows
Wow! That's quite a lot of data! That's why it takes the untrained eye a good half-hour to read the thing; it's as bad as an IRS form.
How Much Does it Cost?
Prices change yearly; in 2011, expect a fee of about $150; you must also pay a fee of $16 per school for each law school to which you apply. That fee is added automatically when you go to put the app in the shopping cart.
I Don't Know Where I'm Applying
As of 2010, you no longer have to specify in advance for which or even how many schools you'll need to purchase LSDAS reports. As you transmit each application to the law school, the fee will be added to the Shopping Cart for you; you have to pay it to send the app.
LSAC Fee Waivers
As with the LSAT, fee waivers are available for needy applicants. Your fee waiver entitles you to apply to 3 law schools without paying the $16 transcript fee.
What Do I Do Besides Pay?
In addition to completing great volumes of electronic forms and paying your money, you must have transcripts sent from every school you attended.
Let me repeat: .
Be sure to request transcripts for summer programs, even if you attended them before you began college. You must also include transcripts from non-degree programs such as nursing school, and from graduate study programs. Law Services will not analyze these transcripts, but will send copies to the law schools for you.
Note that on my mockup, I even include my local community college where I take ceramics. (I reported my law school as "grad" because I didn't know whether the system would let me go further if I told it I'd already completed law school.
Below the name of the school there's a link (circled above) that will produce a bar-coded form (shown below). Anything being snail-mailed has a bar-coded form to accompany it, and anything that has a bar-coded form cannot be submitted electronically.
LSAC Changes for Foreign Transcripts
AFAIK, this change applies to anyone who attended a college outside the U.S.
Beginning in 2006, LSAC announced that they will analyze the transcripts of all applicants. You no longer need to go through WES or another translation service. This service (JD CAS) has changed several times in a few years. The rule as of 2010 is that if you attend a foreign school and pay your tuition to that school, you must request the transcript. If you pay your own college and they arrange the program, you do not need a separate transcript.
Almost all law schools have agreed to accept foreign transcripts through LSDAS, but not 100%. Click here for a complete list.
When Should I Register?
Since registering with LSAC is free, you should sign up as soon as possible. Registering for the LSDAS costs money, so you should register as soon as you can pay. If you're requesting a fee waiver, start right now; they take a while to complete.
The later in the application year, the longer it takes for Law Services to process your papers. Processing recs and transcripts adds time; training a staff to use a new system takes time; figuring out work-around's for the bugs takes time. So make sure you do your work of completing the info online and sending the recs and resumes at least 4 weeks before you want the info sent to law schools.