Two Linklaters partners fall on swords after Oktoberfest punch-up

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By Judge John Hack on

Munich-based high-fliers resign after falling out over a female student at traditional German beer-based marathon


It may be two months after an embarrassing punch-up at a Munich beer bash, but magic circle giant Linklaters was still struggling today to remove one of its troubled — and now former — partners from the firm’s website.

As of earlier today, corporate litigation specialist Laurenz Schmitt was still being promoted on the site, despite having resigned from the partnership following an unseemly brawl at an Oktoberfest drinking session.


According to a post on legal blog Roll on Friday, Schmitt came to blows with tax partner Thomas Elser after the two had allegedly sunk a couple of steins at the traditional drinking festival.

Indeed, sources close to the firm suggest that the two lawyers — both partners in the Munich office — had a disagreement over how much one of them should impinge on the personal body space of a young female student attending the party.

It is understood that Schmitt took the view that Elsner had stepped over that invisible line, so he landed several punches in a bid to get the tax specialist to back off.

The magic circle firm — which is based in Prinzregentenplatz in Munich’s old town — declined to comment. But it is understood that the two agreed to bail out following an internal investigation.

Indeed, the firm’s tech gurus managed to expunge Elser from the site, but a Google search of Schmitt’s name suggests he lives on. According to the firm, he advised on “white collar crime proceedings … with particular focus on corporate compliance and anti-corruption”.

Schmitt became a partner at Links in 2001 after the City firm took over domestic practice Oppenhoff & Rädler in 2000, where he had been on board for the previous decade.

Schmitt’s pugilistic opposition joined the firm in 2001 from the ranks of academia. Elser had previously been a tax law professor at the University of Stuttgart-Hohenheim.

As RoF points out, both seem to have thrown away top-flight careers — and large partnership drawings — in a moment of Oktoberfest madness.