The First Lord had numerous powers that made him "first among equals" compared to the leaders of the other Great Houses, among them were three very important powers. First was the ability to call on the Star League Defense Force; though war could not technically be declared without the High Council's approval, loopholes within the Accords (and the soldiers' willingness) allowed the First Lord to essentially give any order for "defensive" purposes. Second was the ability to shut down any exchange or mint, or any company dealing in inter-realm trade, at will. Third was the ability to withhold advanced Terran Hegemony technology from the other realms, a ploy often used in exchange for certain favors.
The First Lord however was not the Commander-in-Chief of the SLDF; that role was filled by the Commanding General, who was nominated by the First Lord but required approval from the other Council Lords.
During the first Star League the position of First Lord was a hereditary position held by House Cameron. However, Stefan Amaris was able to gain the confidence of the last First Lord, Richard Cameron, and in a dastardly plot killed him and wiped out the entire extended Cameron family. After his defeat in the Amaris Civil War and the exodus of the SLDF, none of the other Council Lords could agree on who should assume the position of First Lord. This led directly to the Succession Wars.
Second Star League
The position of First Lord was resurrected during the second Star League. The Inner Sphere was being invaded by the Clans and the resurrection of the Star League and the choosing of a First Lord was intended as an unifying political gesture.
The First Lord would be chosen by the Head's of state of the Inner Sphere from among themselves. ComStar would only vote in the case of a tie. Each term of First Lord was for 3 years and there was no possibility of being re-elected until all the other Head's of state had held the position.
The position of First Lord had little real power during the Second Star League. The second Star League was little more than a paper-tiger, which lacked its own military forces. Furthermore the First Lord was largely powerless to prevent member-nations from leaving.
Only three persons were elected First Lord of the second Star League.
- The First Whitting Conference on Tharkad in 3058 saw the resurrection of the Star League and the election of Sun-Tzu Liao of the Capellan Confederation as First Lord. It was First Lord Liao's responsibility to ensure the vital flow of supplies for the forces of the SLDF, Operation Bulldog and Task Force Serpent. This was done by stationing Periphery Observation Troops under Star League Colors on nearly all planets with military manufacturers in the Chaos March and rerouting their output for Star League use. Near the end of his term, First Lord Liao deployed SLDF troops on various St. Ives Compact planets which precipitated the Capellan Civil War. All SLDF troops were withdrawn before the Second Whitting Conference.
- The Second Whitting Conference was held on Tharkad in 3061. Katherine Steiner-Davion was the first name to be put forward for eleciton to the post. However, the voting ended tied with three supports and three opposes. This meant that ComStar would cast the tie-breaking vote. However, Anastasius Focht, the Precentor Martial of ComStar announced that he had resigned the post and that his successor would cast the vote. Focht's replacement as Precentor Martial, Victor Steiner-Davion voted against his sister. After Katherine failed to be elected, Theodore Kurita was elected as the First Lord. First Lord Kurita used his authority to send SLDF Troops to aid the St. Ives Compact during the Capellan Civil War and annexed the Lyons Thumb in favor of the Draconis Combine.
- The Third Whitting Conference was held on Marik in 3064. Christian Mansdottir of the Free Rasalhague Republic was elected as First Lord.
- The Fourth Whitting Conference was held on Tharkad in the December of 3067. Here, three of the members, Sun-Tzu Liao of the Capellan Confederation, Yvonne Steiner-Davion of the Federated Suns, and Peter Steiner-Davion of the Lyran Alliance, announced their intention to pull out of the Star League.
- A cornered First Lord Christian Mansdottir saw no solution but to call for a vote of no-confidence, hoping that the measure would be defeated and that this show of confidence and unity would persuade the dissenting members to change their minds.
- However despite the provisional membership of the Word of Blake and of the Taurian Concordat the vote of no-confidence passed and the second Star League was dissolved.
- The Word of Blake was in disbelief, having believed that its pending membership was the fulfillment of a centuries-old prophecy that described the way in which the quasi-mystical order would come to power. Furious it immediately started the Jihad, sparking a new age of war and massive destruction.
With the dissolving of the second Star League the position of First Lord once again became void.
- The Star League, p. 99
- The Star League, p. 112