Chris Moon was last year’s 1L Diversity Fellow from UC Berkeley, at the San Francisco office, and is returning this year for his 2L Summer Program. After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Chris went on to get his MBA in Finance at Columbia University before moving out west to go to UC Berkeley for law school. Chris recently sat down with the Asian American BIG (virtually) to share how his military background has influenced his life, and why Reed Smith brought him back for a second summer.

Authors: Chris Moon

Abstract cherry blossoms with blurred nature background

Congratulations on joining Reed Smith for your second summer program! Can you share what you have been up to since you were with us last year?

This past year, I've been focused on gaining practical experiences to hone my analytical and legal writing skills. Last fall, I interned at a hedge fund, drafting legal documents and negotiating contracts with third-party vendors. This spring, I interned at the Law Society Pro Bono Services in Singapore, conducting legal research and drafting memoranda and opinions on criminal matters. I spent my childhood traveling throughout Asia with my family, but it was my first time working in Singapore. I learned a lot from operating under a completely different jurisdiction and collaborating with legal professionals trained outside of the U.S. I really enjoyed my experience there and the incredible food scene (a Michelin-starred meal for under $2!). 

You have a very rich and unique background, graduating from West Point and then spending five years as an intelligence officer in the Army before going to business school and then to law school. What is the most vivid memory or takeaway you have from your time in the military?

One of my most proud and challenging moments in the Army was completing Ranger School, which is known to be one of the most challenging military schools in the world. It is a tortuous 61-day combat leadership course where one-third of participants drop out or fail by the end of the first week. Ranger School tested my mental stamina, physical endurance, and grit. Also, the school is designed for combat arms soldiers, so it was uncommon for a Military Intelligence Officer (a non-combat arms soldier) like me to attend this training. I vividly recall a six-hour patrol, chest-deep in a sweltering Florida swamp, while carrying a 105-pound rucksack and a 27-pound machine gun. It was six hours of pure misery and seeing water moccasins swimming next to me made it even worse. After spending 200+ sleep-deprived, hungry, and gruesome days and nights, and losing 50+ pounds, I became a U.S. Army Ranger. From this experience, I took away the importance of never quitting.