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Depositions of Senior Executives: Strategies for Taking and Defending "Apex" Witness Testimony

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will guide counsel through the unique challenges when someone seeks to depose a high-ranking executive, such as Chairman of the Board, CEO, President, etc. The panelist will discuss the best strategies for preventing abuse of such depositions in federal and state courts and those needing to depose this distinct category of "apex" witnesses.


Attorneys who represent companies, especially those companies with layers of management, must know how to protect their executives, such as CEOs, from spurious depositions or from being called to testify in perhaps scores of lawsuits on many different types of claims. In seeking to limit or quash the deposition of senior executives, courts focus on the deponent's unique personal knowledge and whether the relevant information can be obtained through less onerous methods.

Nonetheless, discovery is broad, and in cases involving decisions made at the highest level that affect the company's performance and profit, top-level executives (apex witnesses) may very well have unique personal knowledge sufficient to justify taking a deposition.

Counsel must prepare the apex witness for questions that assume knowledge that the witness does not have and balance all the strategic considerations of trial when deciding how to approach these depositions.

Listen as Philip J. Mohr, Partner at Womble Bond Dickinson (US), discusses the best strategies for preventing abuse of such depositions in federal and state court and best strategies for those needing to depose this distinct category of "apex" witnesses.



  1. What makes apex depositions different
  2. Strategies for parties deposing the apex witness
  3. Limiting or quashing the deposition
    1. Procedure
    2. Types of cases where apex witnesses required
  4. Preparing the apex witness


The panelist will review these and other pivotal issues:

  • Should in-house or outside counsel manage the executive witness?
  • What strategies exist for assisting an executive who is not a good witness?
  • Will disclaiming knowledge of certain topics create credibility problems in court or the marketplace?


Mohr, Philip
Philip J. Mohr

Womble Bond Dickinson (US)

Mr. Mohr has more than two decades of trial experience for both publicly traded and privately held companies in state...  |  Read More

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