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Litigation imposes competing requirements on legal professionals. On the one hand, legal professionals have to handle 1) requirements imposed by courts (for example, document and email production in discovery) and 2) ethical requirements – such as protecting attorney-client privilege, protecting client data from improper disclosure. On the other hand, legal professionals want to provide efficient service to their clients and to burden clients with extra costs that do not demonstrably further the goal of winning the case.

One of the challenges is the collection and producing email evidence to use in criminal litigation or civil litigation.

It is very important that email evidence are collected and packaged in a lawful, repeatable, and defensible manner. If they are not, they may not be admissible in court. Export Emails to Sheets by cloudHQ and Save Emails to PDF by cloudHQ are two cloudHQ app that can collect emails and create PDF documents admissible as a legal document or evidence in courts.

Collecting email messages for criminal investigations – and packaging them in a lawful, repeatable, and defensible manner

There are three legal methods routinely used for obtaining emails for use as evidence in a criminal investigation.

  1. Warrant: A warrant is a document obtained from a judge by law enforcement that authorizes law enforcement to conduct a search for possible evidence in a criminal investigation. When requesting a warrant, law enforcement must show probable cause to believe that an item, in this case email, may be evidence of a crime. Probable cause is explained here.
  2. Subpoena for Non-party Records: A subpoena duces tecum is a court summons ordering the recipient to appear before the court and produce documents or other tangible evidence for use at a hearing or trial.
  3. Signed Consent or Signed Authorization: In this case, the owner of the Gmail account agrees to voluntarily provide email messages or give permission to access their account.

Collecting email messages for civil litigation – and packaging them in a lawful, repeatable, and defensible manner

The most common legal requests for obtaining emails for use as evidence in civil litigation are:

  1. Demand for Production: A Demand for Production of Documents, including electronically stored information (ESI), is part of the formal discovery process prescribed by a jurisdiction’s rules of civil procedure.
  2. Stipulation: In order to reduce discovery cost, attorneys from both sides of a civil dispute may stipulate, or agree, to allow the collection of their client’s email messages.
  3. Subpoena for Non-party Records: A subpoena duces tecum is a court summons ordering the recipient to appear before the court and produce documents or other tangible evidence for use at a hearing or trial.
  4. Court Order: If the parties fail to agree or there was an irregularity in initial email production, the matter may wind up in front of a judge. After hearing an argument from counsel, the court may order a collection procedure similar to a stipulated protocol. The Court may also appoint its own expert to collect or evaluate a party’s original collection.

Why to use Save Emails to PDF for legal email collection

Using the right software to collect your email messages can make or break a case.

There are severe consequences if emails are not obtained properly:

  1. Inadmissible Evidence: If evidence is not obtained properly, then it may be ruled inadmissible. It is, therefore, imperative that proper procedure be followed in every detail from the beginning.
  2. Spoliation Penalties: If email evidence is collected or obtained incorrectly and any data is intentionally deleted or otherwise altered in the process, spoliation monetary penalties may be imposed.

Save Emails to PDF is designed to collect email messages and produce PDFs that can be presented as a piece of digital evidence.

How to use Save Emails to PDF and Export Emails to Sheets for legal email collection

  1. If you need to produce just all communication with somebody then you just use our wizard here.
  2. If you are not sure which email messages need to collect then best is to do this:
    • Create a Gmail label
    • Search in Gmail for emails message and put emails you want into the Gmail label you created in the previous step
    • After you collected all emails into a Gmail label start our wizard to Back up or save a Gmail label to a PDF document
  3. If you need to investigate a large number of emails and then the best is to Save email messages to Google Sheets and then go thru the spreadsheet and find one you need. This process will generate PDF files in your Google Drive and you can them merge then and send them.

Legal email collection