If you want to know the answer to the when and why questions, just ask the Green Bay Packers and their fans. On Monday night a week ago, they lost to the Seattle Seahawks on the last play on what has been called on youtube, the newspapers, TV and radio as the worst call in NFL history. The substitute referees first missed the offensive interference, then one official signaled a touchdown while the other signaled touchback, meaning it was intercepted.


I could send you to dozens of newspaper articles. The New York Times article: Absurd Ending Fuels Disgust With Replacement Refs is one example. The New York Daily News reported:

 Even the Lingerie Football League piled on, revealing that some of the scab refs weren’t qualified to work its games.

At the beginning of his book: The Dip, Seth Godin said:

Being best in the world is seriously underrated.

Clearly, the NFL finally realized that this was not just a “bump in  the road” and prior to the game on Thursday reached a settlement with the “best in the world” officials. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said: Fans ‘deserve better.’  I would add so do the players and the teams. Just suppose the Packers miss the playoffs by one game. To show you just how important the settlement is for the country, SI.com reported that the White House called it a “Great Day for America.

Seth Godin was certainly right, but how does “being best in the world”  apply in the world of law. There are certain times, you need to be “best in the world” as your client defines it. When you are “best in the world,” clients actually seek you out rather than you going after them. I can tell you that from own experience representing transportation construction contractors. But, I also want to share examples with you involving mediators.

In the last few years of my career, I was an advocate in three mediations. In two of the mediations, the parties hired two of the “best in the world” mediators. Each charged $15,000 a day 10 years ago and got all the mediations they desired.

In each case, I never dreamed the case would be settled. There were claims and counterclaims, there were multiple parties. There were elected officials that would have to approve the settlement. Yet, with all those obstacles, the best in the world mediators got the parties to reach an agreement in one day.

The third matter should have been resolved by the parties without even needing a mediator. It was by far the least difficult case to settle. In this instance, the parties hired a mediator who was a well known construction lawyer, but as it turned out, not the “best in the world” mediator. He just could not get the case settled. Three years later and at the beginning of the fifth week of trial, after I had cross examined the first two government witnesses, the case settled for far more than my client would have accepted in the mediation.

As the NFL learned, sometimes you need to have the “best in the world” referees on the field making calls. An agreement was reached and the “best in the world” referees were back in action last Thursday.

Your clients will sometimes need the “best in the world” lawyers or mediators to help them. What niche area can you become the one they seek out? As important, what are you doing now, and what will you do the rest of this year and in 2013 to strive to become the “best in the world.”