At this year’s Above & Beyond Awards, Sanctuary for Families will be honoring a team from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan for their dedication to representing “Jasmine” in modifying a custody agreement to allow for relocation and obtaining an order of protection against her abuser. The outstanding team representing Jasmine included partner Christopher Guhin, currently with Paul Hastings, and associate Hinako (Hina) Gojima.
Jasmine, a survivor of physical abuse by her ex-partner, including while she was pregnant, received criminal and Family Court Orders of Protection for herself and her son “Quentin” in early 2019. Sanctuary for Families’ Lindsey Song also assisted Jasmine in a successful custody settlement with Jasmine receiving primary physical and legal custody of Quentin. After the case was settled, Quentin visited several times with his father until a concerning incident occurred by the father towards Quentin. Given the safety concern, Jasmine immediately filed for a petition for suspension of visits and an Order of Protection on her and Quentin’s behalf.
After the visits were suspended for several months and amidst pandemic concerns, Jasmine thought it was best for her and Quentin to quickly relocate out of state to be with family.
The Stroock team took on the case at a difficult juncture one year after Jasmine had relocated. Given Jasmine’s relocation was done unilaterally and without judicial consent, the Stroock team knew it was going to be challenging given the complexity of the circumstances. In 2021, Chris and Hina dove right in, developed a broad strategy, filed a petition for relocation, and planned for a potential trial. Hina worked diligently with Jasmine to prepare extensively for trial and to avoid having Quentin testify.
Hina worked endlessly for over a year while the case was pending to prepare for trial, including obtaining medical and school records, text messages, and other documents. Hina reached out to potential witnesses, interviewed them to assess their ability to testify, and ultimately prepared several witnesses for the trial. Throughout, Hina was extraordinarily compassionate, mindful and sensitive about the impact of the case on Jasmine and Quentin and continuously checked in on how Quentin and the rest of Jasmine’s family were doing during this time.
At trial, Hina powerfully and smoothly took the client through the examinations, responding to objections, reviewing documents and other pieces of evidence.
Hina seamlessly navigated powerfully advocating for Jasmine while continuing to reach out to opposing counsel for a favorable resolution until, on the fourth day of trial, the father finally consented not only to Jasmine’s relocation out of state, but also to the suspension of visitation until Quentin was comfortable. Both the team and Jasmine were surprised and elated about the turn of events. Jasmine was so grateful Quentin did not have to visit with his father, and she was extremely excited that the pair could finally peacefully settle into their new home.
“When we first started working for Jasmine, I was very concerned about whether the court would seek to force her to move back closer to her child’s father, and away from the home where she and her child were getting far more support,” Chris reflected on the case. “Via our advocacy, strategic negotiations, and the compelling testimony of Jasmine, we were able to strike a settlement giving Jasmine everything she was seeking. We are very proud of that result.”
“Hina, Chris and the Stroock team were incredible advocates for Jasmine and her family through an extraordinarily difficult time. Hina was not only an effective attorney but also a kind and genuinely compassionate support for Jasmine–something that showed in the amazing relationship they developed throughout the case. It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with the Stroock team and I know Jasmine is so grateful to them!”
Deputy Director, Courtroom Advocates Project
When asked about the experience, Jasmine writes, “Hina is a phenomenal woman who goes above and beyond for all her clients and their cases. She’s very patient and understanding. I appreciate all her hard work and dedication on my case. My family and I will forever be grateful for all her help and we can’t thank her enough.”
Join us at our Above & Beyond Awards Ceremony on November 2, 2022, as we honor Stroock’s outstanding pro bono work.
If you can’t join us, but would like to support Sanctuary’s work, please consider making an Above & Beyond donation here.
Naina Rasheed is a Corporate Governance Specialist in the Office of the Corporate Secretary at American International Group, Inc. Naina is also a member of Sanctuary’s Pro Bono Council and Co-Chair of this year’s Above and Beyond Pro Bono Awards and Benefit.