James Pritikin is known as one of Chicago’s most prominent divorce attorneys. But outside the courtroom, he has a different reputation.
Pritikin is also a bullfighter.
It was a dream that lie dormant for over 30 years before he decided to do something about it.
He had a fascination at a young age.
“It was this spectacle of being able to control this 1100 pound animal,” he says. “And the elegance and the ballet.”
The fascination that morphed into a full obsession as the years went by. And a nagging feeling.
“There are things you regret never doing. That life passes you by and I said, ‘I always wanted to go into the bullring.’”
Pritikin enrolled in a bull fighting school in Spain and faced his dream and fear head on.
Pritikin was hooked. He returned back to Chicago, but couldn’t shake the parallels he now felt between his work in the courtroom to being in the bull ring.
“I have an opponent. … Somebody I have to try to bend to my will,” he explains.
He has collected bloodstained capes from the ring and counted the days until he’d return for more training.
That’s until one face off when the bull got the best of Pritikin. His body was thrown into the air.
“He broke my tibula, my fibula and tore the meniscus in my knee. O was the one legged lawyer for about six months.”
His family and colleagues thought that would be the end of the story. But Pritikin says it only intensified his need to get back in the ring.
“I knew I had to go back and face the fear or the danger again.”
He has now been fighting bulls on the side for nearly a decade. He hides his scars under his attorney suit. But Pritikin says he wouldn’t change a thing and the experience of being charged by a bull has only made him a stronger attorney.
“I have to watch my step in the bullring and in that courtroom. It’s very similar in that respect.”