Grad’s love for international law directly benefits ICAM
EP PHOTO 2008 By Jenna Box (4JM)
Eduardo “Eddy” Palmer (JD 85) loves international law. That’s why he’s supported the International Commercial Arbitration Moot (ICAM) team with financial donations for more than a decade and adjunct coaching for nine years.
Each spring the team competes against groups from law schools around the world at the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot competition in Vienna and at a pre-moot for that competition in Miami. The Vienna competition is one of the most prestigious of its kind and focuses on a problem that is drawn from the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. The team members present arguments and briefs for both sides of the issue.
Palmer, with more than 25 years of experience in international litigation and arbitration matters, is a key component in getting the team prepared to face off with the competition in Vienna. His financial donations, along with the donations of The Florida Bar International Law Section, keep the team functioning and performing at a high level. In the past few years, the team has routinely finished in the top quarter or above among almost 300 international teams participating, coach and UF Law Professor George Dawson noted.
“Participation in an international competition — even with a small team — is expensive, and Eddy’s financial contribution to the team is important in ensuring that we are able to take a team to Vienna every year,” Dawson said. “Beyond his financial contribution, the students on the team each year get to know a practitioner in the arbitration field and understand how important it is when an alumnus of the College of Law goes out of his way to support our programs.”
The results of Palmer’s efforts are shown not only in the team’s stellar performances, but in the members’ appreciation. Many of them called Palmer their “greatest cheerleader,” lauding his dedication, virtues and professionalism — and his “great sense of humor.”
During competitions, Palmer used his connections to introduce the team to well-known international law practitioners, said Dane Ullian (3L), who received an honorable mention in the spring 2013 competition. “We were a much better team thanks to Eddy’s contributions.”
“Eddy also shares his experiences and best practices as an advocate, which have been crucial to the ICAM team’s success,” said former team captain Alexis Leventhal (JD 13). “Having the support of someone who you admire and respect does wonders for effort, for motivation, for commitment.”
The feeling of appreciation is mutual.
“I love working with the students,” Palmer said. “They’re full of interest, energy, enthusiasm, and it helps to remind an experienced practitioner of the reason why you went to law school in the first place — and it re-energizes me.”
Palmer says his greatest passion is to develop the practice of international law in Florida. Perhaps this dream was inspired by being born abroad, raised in a multicultural environment and educated at a law school that embraces diversity. Palmer was born in Havana and he was raised in New York and Miami.
When it comes to giving back to his alma mater, it only made sense that he’d invest in what he was passionate about. When Dean Jon Mills approached Palmer more than 10 years ago about the team, it was an instant sell. “I fell in love with the program because it married two of my greatest passions: oral advocacy and international law.
“I love giving back to the University of Florida,” Palmer said. “I was very fortunate as a Cuban refugee to be able to have obtained an outstanding education at a public university at a very reasonable price, and I want to do my part to give back and afford that same opportunity to others.”