Former Linklaters partner sentenced to three years in prison for sexual assault

A former Linklaters partner in Germany has been sentenced to three years and three months in prison for sexual assault.

Ex-Linklaters tax partner Thomas Elser was sentenced today in a Munich Court for the assault, which took place after a Linklaters Oktoberfest party in 2014.

Another former partner at the firm, Laurenz Schmitt, received a seven-month suspended sentence in 2016 for punching Elser in the face later on that same evening.

Both partners left the firm in 2014, following the incident.

A Linklaters spokesperson said: “We have always been mindful that there is a young student at the centre of this case. That concern has guided our behaviour and priorities throughout.”

The firm held its own internal investigation of the incident, which was led by London litigation partner Christa Band and former senior partner Robert Elliott.

A number of current and former Linklaters partners were called as witnesses during the trial including Band, Frankfurt banking partner Carl-Peter Feick, Frankfurt tax partner Jens Blumenberg, Munich tax partner Rainer Stadler, and former German private equity head and current Latham & Watkins partner Rainer Traugott.

The verdict follows revelations of an alleged sexual assault of an associate by a Baker Mckenzie partner. The alleged incident took place several years ago. However, the partner only left the firm this year after the allegations came to light. The associate received a payout from the firm and entered into a confidentiality agreement before leaving.