Ray Guy, widely considered the greatest punter of all time, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this month after seven appearances on the ballot. Indeed, Guy not only was the best to play his position – he radically transformed it, turning punting into a major defensive weapon. The only punter ever to be selected as a first-round draft pick, he gave the Raiders their money’s worth. In a career spanning 1,049 punts, he only had three blocked. The term “hang time” was coined in the football vernacular, and the stat first measured, all because his towering boots were so impressive. You get the idea.
And yet, it’s taken him many years – and the assistance of the Seniors Committee – to be selected. Moreover, he’s the first punter elected to the Hall. Only one place kicker, the immortal Jan Stenerud, is there now. Who, you may ask? Exactly. Despite their essential roles, punters and kickers rarely get their names put up in lights.
There is a lesson for lawyers to take away from this. Specialization, whether on the field or at the law firm, is essential to success; abilities are developed, knowledge is built, success is gained. And yet it is important to remain in touch with other intellectual pursuits and areas of law. When a lawyer keeps a wide range of mental muscles working, it becomes easier to see the big picture and think outside the box. The result? More creative arguments, happier clients, and yes, maybe even wider recognition.