In Lucas v. Gold Standard Baking, Inc., No. 13 CV 1524 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 24, 2017), a Title VII civil rights case brought against an employer for alleged refusal to hire African American job applicants, the district court held that plaintiffs’ initial meetings with counsel were privileged even though no formal engagement had been established at the time of the meetings.  Attorney Williams presented “Know Your Rights” seminars.  Both plaintiffs separately attended one of Williams’s seminars and approached Williams afterward.  In each of these separate one-on-one meetings with Williams, plaintiffs sought legal advice regarding some of the issues raised by Williams during the seminar, and Williams told plaintiffs that their conversations would be confidential.  Defendant sought discovery regarding the initial meetings, arguing that they were not privileged communications because no attorney-client relationship existed at the time of these first meetings.  The court held that the initial communications were protected by the attorney-client privilege.  The court explained that, under federal common law, the privilege may attach even if there is no “formal” or “express” attorney-client relationship.  The fiduciary relationship between counsel and client extends to preliminary consultation by a prospective client with a view to retention of the lawyer even if counsel is not engaged thereafter.  Whether the privilege attaches hinges on the client’s belief that they are consulting a lawyer in that capacity and the client’s manifested intention to seek professional legal advice.  Here, the initial meetings were privileged because plaintiffs sought advice from Williams in his capacity as a lawyer, and the plaintiffs and Williams intended their conversations to be confidential.