Former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, whose 30-year legacy of public service includes senior positions under three U.S. presidents, will be interviewed at the
2020 Starr Federalist Lecture at Baylor Law on Monday, October 13 at noon CDT. Secretary Baker will be interviewed by accomplished author and distinguished trial lawyer Talmage Boston, as they discuss Secretary Baker’s remarkable career, the leadership lessons learned from his years of experience in public service, and the skills and capabilities of lawyers that contribute to success as effective leaders and problem-solvers. 

Baker and Boston will also discuss Baker’s newly released biography, The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III, by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser.  The Wall Street Journal calls The Man Who Ran Washington “an illuminating biographical portrait of Mr. Baker, one that describes the arc of his career and, along the way, tells us something about how executive power is wielded in the nation’s capital.” In Talmage Boston’s review of The Man Who Ran Washington, published in the Washington Independent Review of Books, Boston states, “[This] book provides a complete, persuasive explanation of how this 45-year-old prominent but politically inexperienced Houston transactional lawyer arrived in the nation’s capital as undersecretary of commerce in July 1975, and within six months, began his meteoric rise to the peak of the DC power pyramid…”  The New York Times calls it “enthralling,” and states that, “The former Secretary of State’s experiences as a public servant offer timeless lessons in how to use personal relationships, broad-based coalitions and tireless negotiating to advance United States interests.”

A 1991 recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Baker served as Secretary of State under President George H.W. Bush, as Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan, and as Under Secretary of Commerce during President Gerald Ford’s administration. He was also White House Chief of Staff under Reagan and GHW Bush. More recently, he served as a personal envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and as co-chair of the 2006 Federal Commission on Election Reform, the Iraq Study Group, and the National War Powers Commission. Baker is senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts and honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. He lives in Houston with his wife, Susan.

Talmage Boston, author of 1939: Baseball’s Pivotal Year: From the Golden Age to the Modern Era, Raising the Bar: The Crucial Role of the Lawyer in Society, and Cross-Examining History: A Lawyer gets Answers from the Experts about our Presidents, maintains his full-time law practice as a commercial litigator in Dallas, Texas. He is a partner at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP and has been recognized in Texas Monthly magazine as a “Texas Super Lawyer” every year since 2003 and named among the “Best Lawyers in America” since 2013.

The annual lecture series was established by Baylor benefactors John and Marie Chiles to showcase the importance of the Federalist Papers. The Federalist Papers are a collection of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay between 1787 and 1788. The authors wrote under the name “Publius” and attempted to make the case for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, outlining how the new government would operate and why it was the best choice for the United States of America.

This session has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of Texas Committee on MCLE in the amount of 1 credit hour.

Pre-registration for this virtual event is required. Participants in the 2020 Vision for Leadership Conference at Baylor Law are automatically registered. All others may register, here: 




Established in 1857, Baylor University School of Law was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools, Baylor Law has more than 7,600 living alumni and a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. The Law School boasts among its notable alumni two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks Baylor Law’s trial advocacy program as among the best in the nation at No. 2, while the Law School is ranked in the Top 50 of the 2021 edition of “Best Graduate Schools.” The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the “Best School for Practical Training,” and in the top 15 “Best Law School Facilities” in the country. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award’s inception in 1984. Learn more at


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Learn more at



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