November 21, 2011

California Supreme Court grants review to decide whether disgraced journalist Stephen Glass can practice law in California

As noted in this article by Cheryl Miller in The Recorder, the Supreme Court granted review last week in its first moral character case in 11 years to determine whether Stephen Glass is fit to practice law in California. You may recall Glass as the journalist for The New Republic whose meteoric career came to an abrupt halt in the late 1990’s after it was revealed that many of his stories were based on lies and fabrications. The demise of Glass’s journalistic career is dramatized in the 2003 film Shattered Glass.

According to Miller’s article, finding himself unwelcome in the world of journalism, Glass chose to obtain a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. But the New York State Bar refused to allow him to practice, citing his ethical lapses. So Glass moved to California, where the Committee of Bar Examiners likewise declined to certify his moral fitness. Glass then petitioned the State Bar Court’s hearing department and presented 22 witnesses to show he has rehabilitated himself. The hearing officer agreed, as did a divided panel of the three-judge review department. Now the Committee of Bar Examiners has successfully asked the Supreme Court to address the issue. Regarding why the Committee has continued to resist Glass’s admission to practice, Miller quotes attorney Rachel Grunberg of the State Bar’s Office of General Counsel as saying: “‘In light of the serious misconduct that occurred, albeit a decade ago, [Glass] did not show in the commission’s eyes significant rehabilitation. . . . He just hasn’t shown that he holds those values that we hold dear.’”

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