McCoy, Charles W., Jr. 1946-
McCOY, Charles W., Jr. 1946-
PERSONAL: Born November 3, 1946, in Washington, DC; son of Charles W., Sr. and Mary Katherine (Hammond) McCoy; married Jane Irene Hodge, June 12, 1971; children: Justin Matthew, Seth Gabriel, Jamie Sara-Cay. Education: Purdue University, B.S., 1968; University of Texas Law School, J.D. (with honors), 1975; California Judicial College, 1993. Politics: Republican. Religion: Protestant. Hobbies and other interests: Golf, writing.
ADDRESSES: Offıce—Pepperdine University School of Law, 24255 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90263.
CAREER: Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton Law Practice, Los Angeles, partner, 1975-93; worked in U.S. District Court Central District of California, and U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit, 1976; Los Angeles Municipal Court, judge pro tem, 1980-90; Superior Court of California, Los Angeles Country, judge, 1992-2000; Pepperdine University School of Law, adjunct professor of law, 1995—. Southwestern University School of Law, lecturer; Claremont Mc-Kenna College, lecturer; Azusa Pacific University, lecturer. Also a writer and public speaker. Military service: U.S. Marine Corps, captain, 1968-72.
MEMBER: American Bar Association, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, State Bar of California, California Judges Association, L.A. County Bar Association, Rotary, Phi Delta Phi, Delta Tau Delta, Omnicron Delta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: Navy Commendation Medal, Combat V.; Pepperdine University David McKibbin Excellence-in-Teaching Award, 1999.
Why Didn't I Think of That? Think the Unthinkable and Achieve Creative Greatness, Prentice Hall (Paramus, NJ), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Charles W. McCoy, Jr. is a judge, educator, author, and public speaker. His primary role is that of California Superior Court judge, a position that requires, as McCoy himself describes, that he pay close attention to the quality of his thinking. To that end, he has honed his ability, throughout his long career in law, to solve complex problems and has written a book to help others do the same.
McCoy is not afraid to admit that he has made some big mistakes. As a matter of fact, his book Why Didn't I Think of That?, published in 2002, opens with a few anecdotes about just such instances. He blames his mistakes on things like making snap decisions and closing one's mind to obvious facts. Even as a superior court judge, McCoy does not want to forget the mistakes he has made in the past and keeps, according to Bob Poole in the Los Angeles Times, reminders in his office "to avoid making snap decisions, to stay focused, to think systematically." He uses things like red masking tape "stuck above the doorway leading into his courtroom," Poole noted, upon which McCoy has written, "Stop and think before you walk out there." Another reminder is a memento from the 1992 Los Angeles riots: a charred piece of wood that, Mc-Coy told Poole, is a reminder to him that "the only thing that stands between us and chaos is the ability to be a just society."
McCoy believes that everyone needs to learn to think more clearly. "As the world we live in gets more complicated and the communication system gets better and we're more aware of what's going on everywhere, we all must become better thinkers," he told Poole. McCoy's book, according to Poole, was put together for the purpose of teaching people the "importance of thinking ahead and thinking things through." McCoy believes that everyone needs to practice thinking perceptively and deliberately. During this process, people also have to learn to manage the quality of their thoughts. "If you think that sounds difficult," Poole stated, "think again."
The subjects of the eight chapters of McCoy's book provide clues to the methods of his system. They include discussions on perception, concentration, high-level thinking, using a systematic approach, imagination, intuition, empathy, and anticipation. By focusing on these elements, McCoy has found that he can more readily avoid hidden loopholes in his thinking and uncover blind spots that diminish his ability to solve problems and make correct decisions. He believes that everyone, at times, fails to see obvious opportunities or misjudges the importance of critical events.
Booklist reviewer Mary Carroll found McCoy's approach to solving problems to be "lively: he blends anecdotes from his experiences on the bench; tales of smart (and not-so-smart) decisions in business, politics, science, and other fields; brief but systematic outlines of the elements of each of his main subjects; and classic brainteasers." A Publishers Weekly reviewer, however, considered McCoy's advice as solid, but found his presentation a bit too busy; "so busy that readers will probably have difficulty absorbing its practical content."
An educator as well as a jurist, McCoy has pioneered a course for pre-law students at the Claremont Colleges in California. In an attempt to prepare students for the grueling mental challenges they will face in law school, McCoy trains them to think like lawyers before they enter law school. As he stated to Sharper Thinking online, "The journey to better thinking is one we must all walk to achieve success in our knowledge-based society and working world. I am honored to act as your guide, mentor, and friend."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2001, Mary Carroll, review of Why Didn't I Think of That? Think the Unthinkable and Achieve Creative Greatness, p. 685.
Los Angeles Times, April 29, 2002, Bob Poole, "A Lesson on Thinking Things Through."
Publishers Weekly, November 26, 2001, review of WhyDidn't I Think of That? Think the Unthinkable and Achieve Creative Greatness, p. 50.
Sharper Thinking,http://www.sharperthinking.com/ (May 17, 2002), "Charles W. McCoy, Jr."*