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These aren’t drafting tips … Prof sends students anal beads porn link in email fail‏

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Philadelphia law school of many expensive names investigates how a link to Porn Hub was included in helpful guide to students

Lead

On this side of the Atlantic, four hapless and now former judges were in a spot of unfortunate bother last month for casting eyes towards the erotic side of the web — in the US, a law professor is allegedly in the same embarrassing position.

The authorities at Drexel University’s Thomas R Kline School of Law in Philadelphia are reported to have launched an investigation into how a link to a pornographic website was attached to a professor’s email to students that was meant to flag up recommended reading.

The note (below) from Associate Professor Lisa McElroy was intended to be a helpful pointer towards an article on “brief writing”, or drafting. Instead, the URL took (probably grateful) students to a site intriguingly titled “She loves her anal beads”.

email

A report from our US friends Above the Law speculates that the cock up (sorry) could have been the result of the sender carelessly keeping too many web browser pages open at one time.

Likewise, the site points out that Prof McElroy could simply be the innocent victim of web spamming worm thingys that crawl into a computer and randomly distribute porn and other links to a user’s email address book.

McElroy herself seems a jolly prof; the Harvard law school graduate practised at Boston firms Testa Hurwitz & Thibeault and Gadsby & Hannah before jumping into academia. She is a regular contributor to a New York Times blog — and five years ago appeared on the US version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”, ultimately falling down on the $12,500 question.

As with the English judges, there is no suggestion of illegality around the incident, and strong arguments have been voiced that law professors are as entitled as anyone else to dip into whatever legal websites they fancy. They should just be careful when copying and pasting links.

According to Above the Law, a university spokesperson confirmed an investigation into the email was underway, but declined to comment on whether McElroy had been suspended.

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Arguably more interesting, the McElroy saga shines a spotlight on an increasing US phenomenon — the selling of law school naming rights.

Launched only in 2005, Drexel University’s law school was originally called simply the College of Law. Three years later, it was redubbed the Earl I Mack School of Law, after a $15 million donation from the alumnus, real estate tycoon and former US ambassador to Finland.

Five years later — presumably after the administrators had run through that cash — the name shifted to the Drexel University School of Law, but that generic moniker lasted for only 12 months.

Last year, Philadelphia trial lawyer Thomas R Kline — who reportedly had no affiliation with the university — coughed up a $50 million grant to bag the naming rights; it is hoped that large bundle will keep his name in lights for some time.

Previously:

Judges sacked for watching porn on court computers [Legal Cheek]