The Litmans at home: (From left) Lila (14), Harry, Toby (12), Julie and David (16). Photo by Eric Blau

Harry Litman of La Jolla is known to readers of The Washington Post and more recently the Los Angeles Times as its new legal affairs columnist. But to millions, he’s been a liberal-leaning talking head on MSNBC, CNN and other networks.

The former U.S. attorney, 61, who’s taught at UCLA and UC San Diego also divides his time by sharing insights on his year-old podcast Talking Feds and his opinionated Twitter feed.

(It helps that his wife, Julie Roskies Litman, is a noted mathematician who can enforce family rules. She’s a former masters jiu jitsu world champion.)

So how is he doing at home amid the COVID-19 restrictions? We touched base with Litman in the latest of our series of chats with prominent San Diegans.

Times of San Diego: How are you working during this pandemic? What telework tools are you using?

Harry Litman: I’ve always tried to avoid/minimize meetings anyway, so I’m not doing too much Zoom stuff. So pretty much same as ever – computer, phone. Does coffee count?

How many in your household — number of kids and adults? How are you all getting along?

Me, my wife, Julie, and kids David (16), Lila (14) and Toby (12). Question is always “compared to what?” We’re not a model of family harmony but we’re doing pretty well, and the kids are even acquiescing to occasional bike rides and board games.

How are you getting food and other necessities? How often do you personally go out, or are you taking delivery mostly?

I launched a few military assaults on grocery stores — mask, gloves, overflowing cart – because the online delivery services weren’t reliable for a while. But now they are, and we’re mostly doing that. One of many changes that I think will affect life even after the virus.

Aside from official local, state and government channels, how are you getting news about the outbreak? How much social media do you use?

Too much, but that’s the name of the game for me. I bounce around between four papers (leading with the L.A. Times, where I now work) and Twitter, and bounce to different articles/reports that Twitter takes me to.

How do you ward off negative emotions — fear, anxiety, depression? What steps are you taking to preserve mental and physical health?

Meditation, which I’ve been doing for a long time. Guitar, which I’ve just started again during the virus. Try to exercise every day. And walking the dog, which just slows everything down in a pleasant way.

What else do you want people to know about your own personal response to the outbreak?

We feel very lucky overall, and are quite conscious that many people and groups have it so much worse and more dangerous. I’m blown away by the heroism of front-line health care professionals.

10th in a series. We invite suggestions for interview subjects — prominent San Diegans in politics, business, nonprofits, sports and the arts. Write to Ken Stone, contributing editor, or post a comment.

Show comments