Stroock Team Honored for Representation of Domestic Violence Survivor

At this year’s Above & Beyond Awards, Sanctuary will honor a Stroock & Stroock & Lavan team for their dedication to representing “Jasmine” in modifying a custody agreement to allow for relocation and obtaining an order of protection against her abuser.

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!”

Lindsey Song
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.

Stroock Attorneys Fight for Sex Trafficking Survivor’s Housing Rights

At this year’s Above & Beyond Awards, Sanctuary is honoring a team of attorneys from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP for their tireless pro bono work on behalf of “Christina,” a survivor of sex trafficking.

Annika is a Development Intern at Sanctuary and a rising first-year student at Stanford University. She is passionate about politics and criminal justice and hopes to study public policy and English in college.

At this year’s Above & Beyond Awards, Sanctuary is honoring a team of attorneys from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP for their tireless pro bono work on behalf of “Christina,” a survivor of sex trafficking. The incredible team, consisting of Stroock Partner Michele Jacobson and associates Alexandra Lyon and Robert Mantel, was successful in helping Christina reinstate her tenancy after it was wrongfully terminated by the New York City Housing Authority.


Sanctuary client “Christina” has overcome a tremendous amount of adversity in her life, including a long history of abuse and exploitation at the hands of traffickers and others in the commercial sex industry, drug addiction, and the loss of custody of one of her children. Despite the hardship she has faced, Christina successfully turned her life around, has been drug-free for over eight years, has held a steady job, and has created a safe and stable home for her daughter at their New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartment.

The stability Christina had fought so hard for came under threat when NYCHA held a hearing in April 2019, resulting in the termination of her tenancy several months later. Due to a sex offender designation, she obtained through entering a plea deal with the FBI for cooperating against one of her traffickers, NYCHA determined that she and her daughter were not fit to remain in their home. On the brink of losing her home and the new life she had built, Christina turned to Sanctuary and an incredible team of pro bono lawyers from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan for help. Reflecting on his first meeting about the case, Stroock team member Robert Mantel, notes, “I remember us getting the facts and just thinking about how incredibly unfair it was — how there are these underlying issues of domestic violence, violence against women, and sex trafficking — and how it seemed like the courts didn’t really understand what had happened to [Christina]. The system didn’t seem to understand that she is a victim…”

The Case

The pro bono Stroock team, consisting of Michele Jacobson, Alexandra Lyon, and Robert Mantel, worked diligently from August 2019 to June 2020 to help Christina save her home. They drafted and filed a letter motion to reopen the termination hearing when Christina won an appeal downgrading her sex offender designation from Level 2 to Level 1. The team then drafted and filed an Article 78 proceeding appealing the termination, which included a detailed Petition that extensively described the relevant facts and persuasively outlined their legal arguments., Ultimately, the team successfully negotiated a stipulation of settlement, pursuant to which Christina’s tenancy was reinstated. Throughout this complex process, Michele, Alexandra, and Robert kept Christina apprised of all relevant developments in her case and advised her in connection with appealing the termination and agreeing to the settlement. With the Stroock team’s help, Christina was able to fight back against NYCHA’s illegal attempt to evict her and ensure that she and her daughter can maintain safe and stable housing. Stroock attorney  shares,

“I did not expect how much help we would receive from those who heard Christina’s story and wanted to offer their experience and expertise. With these resources and Sanctuary’s expertise in anti-trafficking cases, she was able to keep her apartment.” — Alexandra Lyon, Associate.

Going Above & Beyond

The Stroock pro bono team did remarkable work in prosecuting this complicated, novel appeal. All team members were particularly trauma-informed with respect to the unique challenges Christina faces as a sex trafficking survivor, as someone who has struggled with drug addiction, and as someone who was required to register as a sex offender even though she herself was a victim. The team showed exceptional professionalism and compassion in handling this case and was able to achieve an outstanding victory for Christina.

“Working on [Christina’s] case made me realize that, while society has recognized that victims of sex trafficking are, in fact, victims, the criminal justice system and, unfortunately, government, have not supported these victims as they should.” — Michele Jacobson, Partner.

Expressing her gratitude for the Stroock team’s work, Sanctuary Supervising Attorney Dana Kaufman shares, “I have seen first-hand how having a pro bono team step in on a complex housing litigation can mean the world to a client, knowing she has the backing of an incredibly competent and compassionate team to help her fight against her landlord to maintain safe and stable housing for herself and her children.”

Christina is incredibly grateful for the excellent legal advocacy performed on her behalf by the Stroock team. Thanks to the Stroock team’s efforts, she and her daughter can finally live in peace in their home, without fear of being evicted and rendered homeless.

Join us at our virtual Above & Beyond virtual celebration on October 29, 2020, as we honor the outstanding pro bono work of Michele, Alexandra, and Robert. Click here to RSVP for free.

If you can’t join us, but would like to support Sanctuary for Family’s work, please consider making an Above & Beyond donation here.