Spotlight on John McCorvey: Angling for Results
Scratch the surface of any dedicated angler, and you’ll uncover someone who’s passionate about fishing. That’s the case with John McCorvey. He’s been fishing since he was a kid, and loves spending time out on the water, in search of landing the next big one. He brings the patience and creativity that fishing requires to his work as a mediator as well.
More Than Casting a Line
John’s grandfather taught him to fish. “My dad owned a pharmacy back when there were a lot of independent pharmacies, which meant he worked on Saturdays. That meant I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandfather on the weekends, and he took me fishing,” says John. “As I grew older, though, I came to realize that the reason I love to fish is not only about catching fish. I like being out in nature, and I find myself recharged in nature, especially around water.”
John eschews live bait and loves the analysis that goes into successfully landing a fish. There is far more to fishing than simply dropping a line in the water or choosing the right lure. “I love fishing for the challenge of being a sportsman and angler who only uses artificial lures,” he explains. “Fishing involves understanding a number of variables that cover the tide to the moon to the salinity levels to the water current to structure (rocks, grass, and anything like that where fish congregate), as well as seasonal and migratory patterns.”
And of course, there’s the whole issue of knowing where the fish are, “as 90 percent of the fish are found 10 percent of the water,” says John. “To catch a fish, you have to successfully read the natural conditions, locate the fish, and present the lure in just the right manner and not work it too fast, or too slow.”
John is also passionate about his family, and about dogs. He and his wife, Karen, have a daughter, Anna Grace, who’s a senior in high school. “She’ll be 18 in March, and we’re extremely proud of her,” he says. “Her SAT score qualified her as a Silver Medallion Scholar.” She’ll be attending Florida State University in the summer.
The family also has a Newfoundland, or Newfie, named Fiona. “I tend to like large-breed dogs — I had a Great Dane for 8.5 years,” he says “Now we have a Newfoundland. I like the gentle giants — they’re dogs that by and large form deep, emotional bonds with their owners.” He enjoys taking his dog out for long walks in the woods. “There’s nothing more satisfying than wearing a dog out!” he says with a laugh.
A Willingness to Learn
When John isn’t casting a line or wandering the woods, he brings a thoughtful, creative approach to his work as a mediator. “Mediating involves learning and coming up with new techniques and new methods of helping people solve their disputes,” says John. “That can be techniques to build relationships of trust or techniques to employ when there’s an impasse … I enjoy mediating because you’re part of the solution. It provides a deep sense of satisfaction.”
One of the advantages of mediation is that it allows the parties to focus on interests instead of positions, says John. “People take positions in lawsuits, and they hold on to them until they either win or lose,” he explains. “Mediation allows you to explore the underlying interest, which is more important than the position … instead of focusing on the trees, or the positions, focus on the forest. And the forest is, ‘how are you going to get this problem solved in a manner that best solves the interests of both parties?’”
Regardless of the previous animosity parties may have had, mediation can help them work together to create a solution that benefits everyone. “I focus on the underlying interests of the positions taken by the parties,” he says. “Understanding underlying interests can lead to creative solutions that may circumvent the positions of the parties but satisfy the underlying concerns that are the true driving forces behind any dispute.”
It’s said that art imitates life. In this case, mediation imitates fishing. John’s approach to fishing — fashioning a strategy to meet the unique needs of the environment — also works in mediation, where he fashions a strategy to help the litigants create a novel solution that works for everyone.
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