Legal Ethics

Disgraced as journalist, Stephen Glass faces skeptical Calif. supreme court in law-license bid

Disgraced as a journalist when he was revealed to have fabricated all or part of over 40 articles for The New Republic and other publications 15 years ago, Stephen Glass wound up as the subject of a critically acclaimed 2003 movie that helped make him something of a household name.

Now, saying that he has changed, he is seeking admission to the California bar. Although he earned a law degree from Georgetown University and passed the California bar exam in 2007, character and fitness concerns stood in the way of his actually getting a license. Some involved in the admission process felt he should be given a chance to practice; others disagreed. So on Wednesday, Glass appeared before the state supreme court, which will determine whether to give his application a green light. Based on the skeptical questions posed by several justices, he appears to be facing an uphill battle, according to the Associated Press and the L.A. Now page of the Los Angeles Times.

Glass, who works as a paralegal for a Los Angeles law firm, is backed by former editors, his current employer and law professors, and he has obtained mental health counseling. But several justices questioned whether he has done enough to make up for his journalistic wrongdoing.

“He has impressed a number of people,” said his lawyer, Jon Eisenberg.

“He impressed people at The New Republic, too,” Justice Carol Corrigan shot back.

Glass withdrew his application for a New York law license in 2004, when it became clear it would be denied, the Times reports.

As the tough tenor of the supreme court’s questioning became clear on Wednesday, he slumped in his chair. Afterward, he declined to comment and left the courthouse with his hands in his pockets and his head down.

See also:

ABA Journal: “California Supreme Court to Review the Character Test Put to Stephen Glass” “Disgraced Journalist Stephen Glass Elicits Criticism and Support in His Quest for a Law License”

Vanity Fair (1998): “Shattered Glass”

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