A former Linklaters partner has been sentenced to three years and three months for sexual assault.
Former Linklaters Germany tax partner Thomas Elser was sentenced in a trial at a Munich Court today for his conduct at a law firm event in 2014, when he was accused of sexually assaulting an intern at the firm. Juve first reported the court’s decision this afternoon.
Another partner, Laurenz Schmidt, was also charged with physically assaulting Elser following the fallout at the Oktoberfest event in 2014. The two partners were discharged from the firm with immediate effect and the victim is no longer at the firm, The Lawyer understands.
Following the 2014 incident Linklaters launched an internal investigation carried out by then senior partner Robert Elliot and partner Christa Band. The judge said that Linklaters carried out its internal investigation appropriately.
The charges in German law read as “rape and intentional assault” which has a wider meaning than in English law, in which Elser’s charges read as sexual assault.
Under German press law Elser was originally referred to as Thomas E owing to the so-called “Persönlichkeitsschutzrecht”, a person’s right to anonymity.
A spokesperson for Linklaters 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.”
About 40 witnesses, including several Linklaters lawyers, were called on to give evidence, with former senior partner Carl-Peter Feick understood to have been present. Feick remains a partner in the firm’s banking practice.
The news follows the issuing of an apology by Baker McKenzie over the way it handled a sexual misconduct complaint made by an associate several years ago.
An associate alleged that she was sexually assaulted by a Bakers partner, before receiving a pay-out from the firm and being asked to enter into a confidentially agreement before her departure. The news was first reported on RollonFriday.
The partner at the centre of the allegations is no longer in the London office and is set to leave the firm. Bakers confirmed it would commission an independent review of the incident and how it was subsequently handled by the firm.