The Secretary of State (of Illinois)

I did an informal hearing this afternoon with a client of ours to get a temporary driving permit. This is done with the Secretary of State, the executive branch bureaucracy responsible for your license (aka The DMV).

This is not a fun…nor normal legal experience. Namely because I, the attorney, do most of the work for you beforehand. I prep you as to the right answers, the right demeanor and the best way to put your case forward. But during the hearing, I just sit there and try to clarify any answers my inarticulate client puts forth.

The office I went to was the Chicago West office, on 5301 W. Lexington. This is the DMV visible from I-290 as you head into (or out of) the city. Our hearing officer, a wizened old lady with tobacco stained fingers, spoke too loudly for the confined environment, and would alternately take a harsh, Spanish Inquisition style attitude, and then a kindly, if slightly soused, grandmotherly tone.

My client was great. He’s a simple guy, has a job boarding up houses after fires / Acts of God and needs this permit to work. He has a decent case, but a slightly shady driving record (and mostly while on the job rushing to a job site). Also, he’s got a history of drinking, which he rather too freely admitted to.

Still, he was very polite, lots of “Yes, ma’ams” and honest-to-goodness awshucksiness.

The real kicker to the whole proceeding? The Cross Town Classic is going on RIGHT NOW at Wrigley…and this old crone was listening to Rush Limbaugh. Jesus.


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