Re-taking Classes: How are multiple grades calculated by the LSAC?

We received a question about how the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) converts applicants' undergraduate grades. (I have posted on this topic before, because it's tricky!) The prospective law school applicant wrote:

Is it true that if I re-took some courses while in college to raise my GPA, the original scores will also be factored in for my LSAC GPA when I sign up for the service? For example, if I got an F the first time I took a class and an A the second time I took it, and the first grade (the F) is excluded from my undergrad's GPA calculations, will my LSAC GPA include both grades?

Also, would it be beneficial or recommended to take post-graduate classes in order to raise my GPA, before I apply to law school?

The LSAC will include the grade from the first time you took the class (the "F" in your example) and average that into its GPA calculation, along with the grade from the second time you took the class (the "A" in your example). See page 35, "Failing Grades" and "Repeated Courses" in the Law School Admission Information Book.

Post-graduate classes can help to mitigate a low undergraduate GPA, if you earn significantly higher grades and thereby demonstrate that your study skills/performance have improved markedly since college. Note, however, that grades awarded after your first undergraduate degree was received are NOT included in the LSAC GPA calculation (see page 34 of the Law School Admission Information Book); instead, you must provide a transcript for the post-grad courses, and you can write a short addendum to highlight the improvement in your grades.

Further questions? Post them here!

UPDATE for 2010-11: LSAC has recently changed all its links and no longer links to what used to be the Law School Admission Information Book. You can now find their information about grade conversion here, and information about which transcripts you have to submit here.

Nicole Vikan is a graduate of NYU Law School. She spent her first law school summer at a large law firm, and her second summer in the Homicide Investigation Unit at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. She returned to the District Attorney's Office after graduation and spent five years as a criminal prosecutor, handling cases such as robbery and assault. Nicole then joined Fordham Law School's Career Planning Center, where she advised students seeking employment in the private and public sectors. She is currently a career counselor at Georgetown Law Center's Office of Public Interest and Community Service. As part of the Anna Ivey team, Nicole works with law school applicants and people exploring legal careers.