Hammonton’s Raquel DeStefano, 24, doesn’t back down from arguments.

She graduated from Rutgers University in New Brunswick as a philosophy and political science major and is now a third-year law student at Rutgers School of Law-Camden.

“Philosophy is similar to law. You form arguments,” DeStefano said. “I enjoyed that line of thinking.”

It led her to study law, like her father, Ernest DeStefano, an attorney in Washington, D.C., she said.

She and team partner Elizabeth Carbone, of North Jersey, a graduate of The College of New Jersey, will represent Rutgers-Camden this Thursday through Saturday in the regionals of the American Bar Association Law Student Division National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Brooklyn.

The two must write briefs and present oral arguments on different aspects of one side of a hypothetical labor-law case, which they are preparing as though they are arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court. They must argue on the other side as well.

The top five teams move on to nationals April 10-12 in Chicago, DeStefano said.

Their coach is Rutgers-Camden adjunct professor of law Louis R. Moffa Jr., a partner at Montgomery McCracken in Cherry Hill.

“Professors like him really go the extra mile for their students,” DeStefano said. “He’s already arranged practice rounds with federal District Court judges. The networking he has provided for this competition alone is really exceptional.”

DeStefano is thinking about practicing criminal law, she said, and after graduating in May will clerk for an Atlantic County Criminal Court judge.

A 2007 graduate of Hammonton High School, DeStefano said she participated in the mock trial team there. Her mother, Sharon, is a real estate broker/saleswoman, and brother Dominic is a Navy pilot, she said.

Friendly Sons of St. Patrick

The Atlantic City Fire Department's Sand Pipers Pipe Band co-founders Norman Wilson and John Mistler will be honored as Outstanding Men of the Year at the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick’s 80th annual dinner and scholarship banquet Saturday at Greate Bay Country Club in Somers Point.

The group will award $1,000 scholarships to three graduating seniors: Michael Patrick Duffy, of Egg Harbor Township High School; Joseph Szapor, of St. Augustine Prep; and Morgan Bassford, of Atlantic City High School.

The black tie-optional event kicks off many St. Patrick's Day celebrations. For more information, call Patty Ferry at 609-289-1529 or e-mail friendlysons35@gmail.com.

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