Professor’s expertise sought for two book chapters

Professor Francis J. Mootz III speaks to a classroom of students while making a hand gesture.

Professor Francis J. Mootz III joined McGeorge School of Law in 2012 as the school's ninth dean. After his five-year term as dean, he joined the faculty as Professor of Law.

Few people are familiar with the term hermeneutics, and even fewer recognize the global reach the discipline has on the study of law. University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Professor Francis J. Mootz III is one of the leading scholars in the hermeneutical (interpretation theory) and rhetorical (argumentation theory) traditions.

“This area of study gives us a lot of depth. By immersing ourselves in these philosophers’ understanding of how humans act and interact, scholars have a much better perspective on how the law works,” Mootz said.

The study of hermeneutics and rhetoric is an interdisciplinary field that combines Mootz’s lifelong interests in history, philosophy, and law. His research has taken him all over the world — in fact, the international aspect has sustained his interest in this area of study.

“Unlike law, which is based on jurisdictions, philosophy is, of course, for the whole world,” Mootz said.

Mootz has published an impressive seven books and 13 book chapters in the area of hermeneutics and rhetoric. Last year, his expertise was sought by the publishers of two major books, each one focusing on a different contemporary legal philosopher.

The Gadamerian Mind” is a volume featuring international scholars writing about the significance of the work of philosopher Hans-George Gadamer. Mootz’s chapter concentrates on Gadamer and jurisprudence.

Mootz also authored the chapter "The Unbearable Between-ness of Law” in “Reading Ricoeur through Law.” The book is a collection of essays examining philosopher Paul Ricoeur’s contribution to the study of law, ethics, and politics.

“The best part of these volumes is that everyone participates in the conversation,” Mootz explains. “People from different disciplines on different continents with different legal traditions are all talking about the impact of these philosophers.”

Mootz’s research influences his approach to teaching Statutes and Regulations, a recent requirement at McGeorge for first-year students. The course introduces students to strategies and techniques for interpreting and applying statutes and regulations in the modern administrative state.

“Students think that laws are a bunch of rules that you have to follow,” Mootz said. “What these philosophers show us is that when we are engaged in legal practice, we demonstrate our full humanity. Law is not just a simple rule-following. Making legal arguments is an ethical activity. It shows who you are, as a person.”

Mootz joined the McGeorge School of Law in 2012 as the school's ninth dean. After his five-year term as dean, he joined the faculty as Professor of Law. Mootz teaches Statutes and Regulations, Insurance Law, Employment Law, Remedies, Critical Race Theory Seminar, and Legal Argumentation. Previously, Professor Mootz served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, and William S. Boyd Professor of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Throughout his career, he has also taught at the University of California Davis School of Law, Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, William & Mary Law School, and Western New England University School of Law.