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Judge Says Kanye West’s Former Lawyers Can’t Print Ads Dropping Him as Client – Yet

todayJanuary 25, 2023

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A federal judge says Kanye West’s lawyers need to keep trying to reach their client a little bit longer before the judge will allow the attorneys to take an unusual step: printing newspaper ads announcing they’ve dropped the embattled rapper.

In an order issued Tuesday, Judge Analisa Torres denied – for now – a request by attorneys from the law firm Greenberg Traurig to take such extraordinary measures to formally cut ties with West (who has legally changed his name to Ye). The firm says it has “exhausted all methods” of contacting the rapper, but the judge is not yet convinced.

“The court finds that GT has not provided sufficient facts to support its conclusion that personal service is impracticable,” Judge Torres wrote. “GT’s latest attempts… do not indicate diligent efforts at attempting to locate Ye.”

Greenberg, one of many law firms to cut ties with Ye in the wake of his antisemitic statements last year, has been trying for months to legally notify the rapper that its lawyers will no longer be representing him in a copyright lawsuit album over a song off Donda 2. Judge Torres already approved their withdrawal, but federal litigation rules and legal ethics require lawyers to personally serve clients with formal notice that they’ve been dropped as a client.

It’s this process that Greenberg says Kanye is evading.

In a Jan. 13 request, they argued that the star was engaged in “deliberate avoidance and obstruction,” including ditching his previous representatives and changing his phone number. Faced with that obstinance, Greenberg lawyers asked earlier this month to let them notify him by mail – or to simply print the notice in public newspapers.

“Given Ye’s public status, publication of the withdrawal order will likely garner significant media attention, resulting in broader publication and provide an even greater likelihood of apprising Ye of the Order,” the Greenberg lawyers wrote in making the unusual request.

But in Tuesday’s order, Judge Torres said she would need to see more proof that Greenberg had truly run out of options. She suggested that the firm could show that it had used databases to search for a new address, or even “hiring private investigators” to locate the star.

The judge gave the firm a Feb. 15 deadline to either successfully serve notice on Kanye – or offer more detailed proof to support the newspaper plan. Kanye’s former lawyer at Greenberg did not immediately return a request for comment. A press representative for West could not immediately be located for comment.

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