Last updated: July 7, 2013
LSDAS is a nationwide clearinghouse that evaluates every applicant's academic record in a uniform manner and reports some to law schools along with transcripts and LSAT scores. After you register for the LSDAS service and send them your transcript through your junior year, they will photo copy your transcript and send it to law schools designated by you. Also sent to law schools is your GPA for each year (individually and cumulative) and a breakdown of the number of semester hours earned with the A, B, C, D, F, or pass range. "Pass" grades are not computed in the GPA, but all failures are averaged in as zero. There is a slight variation in the way Duke computes the GPA and the LSDAS version: at Duke an A- 3.7, at LSDAS, 3.67. Conversely, Duke gives a B+ a 3.3, LSDAS a 3.33. If you have more minuses than pluses, your LSDAS average will be slightly lower than the way Duke computes it. To comfort all you geniuses: LSDAS weights A+ as 4.33, while Duke only equates it as 4.0.
The LSDAS reflects changes in your year-to-year cumulative GPA. If your marks have consistently risen during your undergraduate career, this fact is shown. The primary disadvantage is that the LSDAS statistical summary makes it unnecessary for the law schools to even look at your transcript. The numbers are neatly summarized for them, in the same format for every applicant. Such uniformity tends to make the law schools rely more on the GPA and less on individual courses and grades earned. Law schools know that you have a 3.21 overall, but won't know how it was earned or the quality of courses taken (unless, of course, they examine the transcript).
LSDAS reports on a semester-hours basis, and each course in Duke is equated four hours. So if you have one A+, three A's, and two grades of A-, the report will assign you 24 hours in the "A" range.
As mentioned above, LSDAS prepares a report for each law school to which you apply. The law school report contains information that the schools use, along with your application, personal essay, letters of recommendation, and other criteria, to make their admissions decisions. Information contained in the report, in addition to the undergraduate academic summary, copies of all undergraduate, graduate, and law/professional school transcripts; LSAT scores and writing sample copies; and copies of letters of recommendation processed by LSAC. Canadian law schools receive an LSAT Law School Report containing scores and writing sample copies.
The registration fee for LSDAS includes law school report preparation, letters of recommendation and transcript processing, and access to electronic applications for all ABA approved law schools.