Who Are You?

I’m Ken White. I’m an attorney in Los Angeles, California, where I’m a partner in a small firm practicing criminal defense and civil litigation. I began my career as a federal prosecutor, and for the last twenty-three years have defended people in state and federal criminal proceedings and represented them as both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of civil matters, with a growing focus on First Amendment issues.

I’m also a husband of 27 years and a father to three children, all adopted internationally. I am a ridiculously fortunate person.

What Do You Write About?

I mostly write about criminal justice and free speech issues. I enjoy writing “lawsplainers” — attempts to make somewhat esoteric legal issues clear and entertaining to non-lawyers (and to reasonably tolerant lawyers). I also like to talk about the gulf between what the law is supposed to do and what it actually does. I’ve written a lot about federal criminal law, the criminal investigations surrounding the Trump Administration, First Amendment disputes and adjacent cultural disputes, and the intersection of free speech law and the internet.

Where Have You Written or Spoken?

Since 2004, I wrote at the blog Popehat, which is now defunct. For years I wrote a lot on Twitter until I left it. I’ve been published in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and Reason Magazine, and I’ve been a Contributing Writer at The Atlantic. I co-host the podcast Serious Trouble with Josh Barro — it’s about the legal travails of famous and infamous people. I’m the host of the First Amendment podcast Make No Law, and I was the cohost of KCRW’s All the President’s Lawyers, a podcast about the Trump Administration’s legal travails, also with Josh Barro. I also do speeches and debates on free speech and criminal justice issues.

As for social media, I am on Bluesky and Facebook.

About The Name “Popehat”

I was raised Catholic. But the name “Popehat” is an inside joke among online friends and not an actual reference to religion. A friend make origami miters and wore them playing poker. When so clad, he seemed invincible. Popehat is a reference to that attitude of infallibility that seems to be a prerequisite to writing online.

Do You Have Suggestions, Questions, Threats, Or Abuse?

Please feel free to write me at [email protected].

Our Art

Art on the site is courtesy of the exceptionally talented Max Aliyev at MaxMedia.

Obligatory Disclaimer

I do things other than bloviate online. I’m a lawyer, but this newsletter is not sponsored, funded, endorsed, or affiliated with my law firm, which has no role in its content or management. I’m a podcaster, but this newsletter is not affiliated with KCRW or Legal Talk Network or Very Serious Media and those entities do not manage, approve, or support its content. I’m a writer, but the platforms that publish me are not affiliated in any way with this newsletter.