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Sophia L.heic

Sophia Pestana (LaFrance) is a law student, a passionate philanthropist, a public speaker, and the founder of

the social media platform, Empower to Succeed.


Sophia is completing her final year of law school at Stetson University College of Law. After her first semester, Sophia finished in the top one percent of her class and received an invitation to join Stetson Law Review. Currently, Sophia serves as the Marketing Editor on the journal. During her 2L year, Sophia was one of the student writers nominated to present her law review comment at the Spring 2023 Scholarship Luncheon. Her comment is entitled 

KEEPING UP WITH THE KRYPTO: The Need for Federal Regulation on Celebrities and Influencers Posting Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets on Social Media. Sophia also served as a Guest Executive Editor for the 

Texas Review of Law and Politics and a Guest Editor for the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. 


Sophia is currently the Stetson Chapter President of the Federalist Society. As president of the Federalist Society, Sophia has invited and hosted numerous distinguished guests including the Hon. Amul R. Thapar who serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.


In addition to her leadership roles, Sophia is a competing member on Stetson's award-winning Moot Court Board. During her 3L fall semester, Sophia and her teammates were finalists in the inaugural Claude Pepper Elder Law Moot Court Competition. During her 2L year, Sophia competed in the NYC Bar National Moot Court Competition and her teammates nominated her for the board's 2023 Award of Excellence.

Before starting her last year of law school, Sophia spent her summer at Carlton Fields in Tampa, Florida. She handled a variety of substantive and procedural issues in support of litigation and participated in the firm's Deposition Workshop. 

Previously, Sophia was an intern to the Hon. Kathryn Kimball Mizelle at the District Court for the Middle District of Florida. She also participated in a study abroad course entitled Comparative Trial Advocacy at the 

University of Oxford in England.


Outside of law school, Sophia leads professional development workshops for young women through the platform she created, Empower to Succeed. Her goal is to inspire young women to confidently and authentically pursue their career and life aspirations. 

Before law school, Sophia worked on various studio shows at ESPN covering college basketball, college football, MLB, and the WNBA on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2. She also received the unique opportunity to work on the UEFA EURO 2020 Tournament. Her work ethic and leadership skills earned her a spot as a Content Associate Captain and a mentor to young professionals within the ESPN Next program. 


Sophia led various initiatives while she was in Connecticut. Within her first month at ESPN, she pitched a social media segment in which she interviewed ESPN leaders who started their careers as production assistants. Final pieces are on ESPN Next social media accounts. She also led an ESPN Thanksgiving Food Drive for local Feeding America food pantries in Bristol, Charlotte, and Los Angeles. Over 1,200 donations were made to the drive. Additionally, Sophia participated in Junior Achievement Career Day programs and a career panel to provide professional development advice to students. 

On May 24, 2021, the Mayor of Wallingford recognized Sophia for her philanthropic dedication and commitment to the state of Connecticut with an Official Mayoral Proclamation.​ Sophia represented Wallingford at the 

Miss Connecticut USA 2021 pageant and received special recognition for her leadership skills and community outreach initiatives while she was a title holder. 

Sophia is a proud alumna of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. She served as an ambassador to the college, an executive officer within her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, a weekday news reporter and sports anchor for WUFT-News, as well as a basketball and gymnastics beat reporter for ESPN Gainesville.

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