Kevin Mooney, L¿92


A twisty path to fulfillment

My ability to pay attention went off the charts.

Kevin Mooney, L’92, has always been drawn to boats. He attended the Merchant Marine Academy and landed a job as a tugboat captain — a position he hoped to have for life. But nine years in, Mooney was involved in an accident that changed everything. While the Coast Guard ultimately determined he wasn’t at fault, the accident was the latest in a series of incidents. Mooney was let go.

Around the same time, Mooney was beginning to realize that he struggled to focus. He saw an occupational therapist who helped him understand his challenges — and his skill sets.

“This was in 1986, and they didn’t know much about adult ADD yet,” he says. “But after a long battery of tests, I had two choices based on the results: architecture and law.” 

Mooney chose law and came to Richmond. He also completed a self-directed joint MBA program through Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

He also kept his sights on the water. He held positions with a maritime law firm and a marine insurance company while serving in the Navy Reserves. He was then asked to return to active duty.

In the meantime, when Mooney was 47, his son was diagnosed with ADD. His doctor recommended Mooney be tested as well.

“My life changed,” he says. “[With treatment,] my ability to pay attention went off the charts, which made a big difference in my naval career.” 

Mooney left active duty in 2008 to work as a civilian with the Naval Special Warfare Command. Last year, he transitioned to a contractor role. 

His path isn’t one he envisioned; when he was forced to change directions, he was devastated. Looking back, he says his decision to attend Richmond Law marked a major transition point.

“My life revolved around being close to the water,” he says. “Law school was a key part of the pathway to being who I wanted to be.”