Because of the sheer volume of applications to law school and a desire to open opportunities to a larger applicant pool, law schools have joined together to create the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). LSAC is the administrator of the law school applications process. With the same people who design and administer the SAT, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), LSAC formulates and administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and operates the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). The applications process is designed to ease the work of admissions offices at the law schools in making a diverse, capable, and motivated entering class.
The LSAC website is a terrific source of information about law schools, the admissions process, and the many services LSAC offers to applicants. You should examine their site thoroughly. [www.lsac.org] It is your principal connection to the law schools. While it helps the law schools limit their admissions to about 50% of the applications per year, it also takes its job of informing prospective lawyers seriously.
The Law School Data Assembly Service allows the applicant to compile, coordinate, and send the various components of their application to the law schools they have selected. Most law schools require their applicants to use LSDAS. There is a one-time registration fee that maintains the account for 5 years after the day of registration. There are additional fees for each report (your scores, data, and Letters of Recommendation [LORs]) you want sent. You can also use LSACD, a Windows compatible CD-ROM, or LSACD on the web to fill out the commonly requested entries of an application, then the specific questions asked by the schools you have selected. There are several items to keep in mind when using LSDAS.
First, the name you submit as part of your registration will control all the items contained within your report. If you use a different name in any way on any part of your application, it will create a problem with your report and LSDAS will hold the report back as incomplete.
Second, all of the entries you make with LSDAS, as well as with LSAC, are available to the law schools. For example, if you label a letter of recommendation “for a safety school,” that school will know you have designated them as such.
Third, you must read all of the instructions, warnings, and other communications very carefully. For example, if you have studied abroad through Seton Hall University, do not list the institution abroad as an institution attended. LSDAS will hold your report until that institution has sent a transcript. If you have not requested one or if they are not capable of handling the request, LSDAS will never send your report.
Fourth, you should monitor your file with LSDAS on a regular basis to make sure your file is going to be complete and sent to your law schools expeditiously. Law schools like to fill their classes with certainties. A delay can cost you an easy admission.
Fifth, although LSAC and LSDAS are meant to standardize the process, individual schools may have their own particular requirements, i.e. two letters instead of three, a different policy on late admits, etc. Familiarize yourself with these variations and prepare accordingly.
The report that LSDAS compiles is made of several components. Besides your biographical information, employment record, educational institutions attended, and activities, law schools care about your undergraduate grade point average (UGPA), your score on the LSAT, your letters of recommendation (LORs), and your personal statement. Though some would argue law schools care most about the UGPA and LSAT, you should pay attention to all the elements because they can make the difference either in rejecting your application or pushing you over the top. Please see the individual sections devoted to each of these components for more information.
For details on the applications process see the LSAC website and the annual LSAC & LSDAS Registration and Information Book available outside the Office of Pre-Law Advising.