Shattered Dreams: Bar Membership for Stephen Glass Unlikely - Ethics - California Case Law
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Shattered Dreams: Bar Membership for Stephen Glass Unlikely

Imagine being so infamous that a Hollywood movie was made about your misdeeds? Well, Stephen Glass doesn't have to imagine that -- he lived it. Now, he's trying start over in a new career and to gain membership to the California Bar.

But the path for the putative lawyer ahead is anything but clear as ... no, we won't do it. Let's just say it's not looking very promising.

The Infamous Stephen Glass

Stephen Glass gained his infamy in the 1990s, when as a rising writing star, he fabricated (in whole or in part) 42 stories for magazines including Rolling Stone, and the New Republic, reports The Associated Press. To cover up his lying ways, he went so far as to create fake business cards, fake notes and a fake website, says the Los Angeles Times.

In 2003, a movie about his lying, "Shattered Glass" was released, and he wrote a book loosely based on his experiences called "The Fabulist," reports the AP. He made approximately $140,000 from the sale of his book, which he pocketed.

Turning Over a New Leaf

Since his career in journalism was over, Glass did the next logical thing -- he went to law school (WTF?). He graduated from Georgetown Law School, applied for admission to the New York Bar, but withdrew his application when he learned he would not be admitted on moral grounds. Afterward, came out to Los Angeles and worked as a paralegal in an LA personal injury firm, according to the AP's report.

Glass has been trying to be admitted to the California Bar since 2009, when his application was initially rejected. After a 10-day confidential bar trial, a state bar court admitted him, and the admissions arm of the California bar appealed. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of California heard arguments to determine whether Glass should be admitted to the California Bar, reports the LA Times.

The California Supreme Court's Skepticism

Glass' attorney argued that he is a changed man, while the state bar argued that he is an "infamous serial liar," reports the San Jose Mercury News. While the Court will reach a decision within 90 days, it's not looking like Glass will be admitted to the California Bar. Why?

Here's a sampling of the comments of the California Supreme Court Justices:

Justice Carol Corrigan: "They say character is what you do when no one is looking. Mr. Glass's history ... when no one is looking has been pretty abysmal." Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar added "[b]eing admitted to practice law is a privilege," reports the San Jose Mercury News.

Wait. There's more. Justice Marvin Baxter stated Glass' conduct was not one isolated event, "but a pattern 'over a long period of time,'" while Justice Chin noted that Glass made money from his misconduct by writing a novel. Finally, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye opined that "Glass was involved in a 'depth of deception that was pretty sophisticated,'" reports the LA Times.

We'll have to wait for the California Supreme Court's decision, but do we really need a lawyer like Glass to perpetuate negative stereotypes about lawyers? How would clients ever trust him? Maybe he needs to find a profession that doesn't require trust and integrity. May we suggest a run for a congressional seat?

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