Trust me, an infamous serial liar says
Mon December 19, 2011
-- Stephen Glass, the whiz-kid magazine writer exposed 13 years ago as a serial fabricator, is
telling what may be his most compelling story yet -- his own. He swears he's not making it up, and
he's asking California's highest court to believe him and give him a chance.
Glass, who graduated in 2000 from Georgetown's law school, works as a paralegal for a firm in
Beverly Hills, California. But he really wants to be a lawyer, and he insists he's remorseful, reformed
and committed to telling the truth. Others aren't so sure, which is why a bar application that usually
would be a no-brainer is taking five years and counting.
There is no question that Glass is brilliant, and he easily passed the bar exams in New York and
California. But his budding legal career has become snagged on the jagged rocks of good character
and moral fitness.
The latest installment in the infamous fabulist's saga is contained in a thick file at the California
Supreme Court. Opened to the public late last month, it finally offers an explanation for why Glass
once felt driven to publish lie after lie, and then lie some more to cover it all up. But this case also
raises some difficult questions: Can he, should he be forgiven? Is his redemption even possible? Or,
once a liar, always a liar?
"Maybe there are certain types of behavior you never get over," said Arnold Siegel, an ethics
professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. But, he added, "The Bar has a fairly compassionate
view. They do believe in rehabilitation."
the writer who first outed Glass' lies in 1998
, took a more ironic view:
"When I first learned of Glass' quest to join the legal profession, I thought, Christ, it's been 13 years.
And, since when does lying disqualify someone from being a lawyer? Let the guy earn a living,"
wrote for fastcompany.com
. "Leave it to Glass to disgrace himself in one mistrusted profession only
to apply to another."
Lawyers and journalists aren't highly regarded, although they usually rank a notch above lobbyists,
members of Congress and used car salespeople in Gallup's annual Honesty and Ethics survey.
Nurses, teachers and doctors are considered the most trustworthy professionals. Glass' father was a
doctor, and his mother a nurse, and they didn't think much of lawyers or journalists, which is a big
part of his story.