The Appellate Advocacy Course and Externship are taught and supervised by Thomas Lillien, director of the Second District Appellate Defenders Office in Elgin, IL and Peter Carusona, director of the Third District Appellate Defenders Office in Ottawa, IL. Each attorney brings more than thirty years of appellate experience to the program. In the Fall semester, Mr. Lillien and Mr. Carusona teach the Appellate Advocacy course at the College of Law. In the Spring semester, they oversee the Appellate Defender Externship, supervising students at their respective offices.
The Appellate Defender Externship is a full-semester course in which students receive three hours of credit for working approximately 12 hours per week. Students participating in the externship work under the supervision of staff attorneys. Typical activities include researching; writing briefs, memoranda, and motions; and observing oral arguments in criminal appellate cases. Students must take Appellate Advocacy to be eligible.
The experience gained in this program is excellent preparation for students participating in both internal and external moot court competitions. Further, participation in the course and externship has opened doors for numerous students to find careers in appellate work, including judicial law clerks at the state and federal level.