Business

Disgraced ex-journalist fights for CA law license

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A former journalist who became the subject of a Hollywood movie after he was caught fabricating articles in the late 1990s is fighting to become a lawyer in California over the objections of a state bar committee.

Stephen Glass, whose ethical missteps at The New Republic and other magazines were recounted in the film “Shattered Glass” and an autobiographical novel, has challenged the bar committee’s decision to deny him a license to practice law, the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/sfh2je) reported Monday.

Glass attended law school at Georgetown University and passed California’s bar exam in 2007. His application for an attorney’s license was turned down by the state’s Committee of Bar Examiners, which judged him morally unfit for his new profession.

But an independent state bar court ruled in Glass’s favor in July and the California Supreme Court has since agreed to hear the committee’s appeal. No date for oral arguments has been set.

The bar association’s lawyers said in written filings that even though Glass’ transgressions occurred when he was in his 20s, his attempts at atonement were inadequate and in some cases coincided with the publication of his novel. They faulted him for never compensating anyone who was hurt by his falsehoods.

Law and journalism “share common core values — trust, candor, veracity, honor, respect for others,” Rachel Grunberg, a lawyer for the State Bar of California, told the Chronicle. “He violated every one of them.”

The bar court that overruled the committee in July was convinced, however, that Glass was genuinely repentant and had been rehabilitated. His appeal included character references from 22 witnesses, including two judges who had employed him, two psychiatrists, and Martin Peretz, who owned The New Republic when Glass’ deception occurred.

In his own statement to the bar, Glass said he was “greatly ashamed and remorseful about my lying” but “forthright and candid about my years of misconduct.”

Glass tried to become a lawyer in New York after he passed that state’s bar exam in 2003, but withdrew his application when his request for moral character approval from the New York bar languished.

Now 39, Glass works as a law clerk at a Beverly Hills firm. His Los Angeles-based attorney Susan Margolis declined to comment Monday evening.