Women, Family, and Children

An array of spokes comprise the Women, Family and Children hub of the Public Service Project. People living in poverty face enormous obstacles on a daily basis. The family unit, a last bastion against total loss, is under constant stress.  In tandem with legal services providers, we have found several ways to defend against this loss, and begin building anew.

Escaping DV

The Public Service Project is committed to helping women overcome domestic violence. We help our clients obtain divorces, custody, support, visitation and orders of protection. Working primarily with Her Justice, our Family Court Team has over time acquired valuable experience and expertise in representing women and their children in particularly challenging circumstances.  Our work in this area has been repeatedly awarded.

Seeking Asylum

Our asylum clients are often women who have incurred the wrath of their native country’s patriarchy by challenging established religious, political and sexual orthodoxies. We have represented courageous women from Mali, Nepal, Sudan, Tanzania and Palestine. In one recent matter, Stroock successfully obtained asylum for a Guinean woman who suffered female genital mutilation as a child, only to survive domestic violence and cultural oppression as an adult.

Guiding Pro Se

Navigating a crowded and complex Family Court system without counsel can be perilous, particularly when the stakes – support, custody, protection – are so high for besieged families. Unfortunately, the need for pro bono counsel is so overwhelming that it is impossible to meet. A stop-gap measure, with outstanding results, calls for providing finite, same-day guidance to pro se litigants on their way to or from the courtroom. At these critical junctions, even basic information can be extremely helpful.

Giving Lift  

Legal Information for Families Today (“LIFT”) targets the dire consequences for under-resourced families caught up in family court. Stroock was the first firm in the City to train its paralegals to work alongside LIFT staff in both family court and criminal courts, providing basic information and guidance to the poor. The Public Service Project also provides LIFT itself with pro bono general counsel on a broad range of legal issues. We have worked with LIFT since 2002, and over that time provided almost 2,000 hours of free legal services.

Fighting Trafficking

Ten years ago, Stroock was among the first firms to join the legal community’s struggle against human trafficking. Since then, we have worked on behalf of men and women, victims of labor and sex trafficking, domestic and international. We have successfully partnered on T-visa cases with Her Justice, joined former Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-trafficking task force, helped form and advise non-profit organizations leading the cause and serving survivors, provided research and analysis on emerging issues and legislation, and represented trafficking victims as they reclaim their lives.