Legal Ethics

Disgraced Journalist Stephen Glass Elicits Criticism and Support in His Quest for a Law License


When partner Paul Zuckerman spotted the resumé Stephen Glass sent in to his Los Angeles personal injury firm, he thought the Ivy League graduate must have applied by mistake.

Then he read the cover letter, realized he was dealing with a disgraced journalist whose fabrications in magazine articles he wrote while working at the New Republic formed the storyline for the movie Shattered Glass, and tossed the application into the trash.

But as he thought further, reflecting on his own recovery from substance abuse with the help of a 12-step program, Zuckerman relented. He interviewed Glass and hired him in 2004. Today, Zuckerman is not only supporting the 39-year-old’s quest for a law license but hopes to make him a partner in his law firm, the Los Angeles Times recounts in a lengthy article.

After his world imploded in 1998, when his extensive fabrication for the New Republic was discovered, Glass earned his law degree at Georgetown University and passed the New York bar exam, but he was denied a law license in 2004 on character and fitness grounds.

He moved to California, where he initially was denied a law license in 2009. However, but Glass appealed and a judge ruled in his favor after a confidential legal ethics trial. That ruling was appealed, and the matter is now before the state supreme court.

Although some question whether Glass is really a reformed character, Zuckerman has now seen him at work for nearly a decade and is among his staunchest supporters.

“People can say he is fooling me,” Zuckerman told the Times. “But I truly know the man.”

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “California Supreme Court to Review the Character Test Put to Stephen Glass”

Los Angeles Times (opinion): “Stephen Glass: From liar to lawyer?”

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