Putting the international in ICAM

Eduardo “Eddy” Palmer (JD 85) was born in Havana and raised in New York and Miami. Growing up as a political refugee sensitized him at an early age to geopolitics and how important the rule of law is to preserve freedom around the world. Once in law school, his interest in international relations naturally evolved into his fascination with international law.

Palmer says one of his greatest passions is to make Florida a leading jurisdiction in the world for the practice of international law. So when it comes to giving back to his alma mater, it only makes sense that he would invest in what he is passionate about. When then-Dean Jon Mills approached Palmer more than 10 years ago about the International Commercial Arbitration Moot 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,” he said.

“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.”

Palmer has supported the team with financial donations for more than a decade and as an adjunct coach for nine years.

From left are Professor George Dawson, Dane Ullian (2L), Eddy Palmer (JD 85), Alexis Leventhal (3L), Julie deBruin (2L), and Phil Kegler (3L), representing UF Law at the Florida Vis Pre-Moot Arbitration Competition in late February before moving on to the international competition in Vienna. The team qualified for the final rounds at the competition in Vienna, which was held in March.

From left are Professor George Dawson, Dane Ullian (2L), Eddy Palmer (JD 85), Alexis Leventhal (3L), Julie deBruin (2L), and Phil Kegler (3L), representing UF Law at the Florida Vis Pre-Moot Arbitration Competition in late February before moving on to the international competition in Vienna. The team qualified for the final rounds at the competition in Vienna, which was held in March.

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. The team is coached by UF Law Professors Jeffrey Harrison and George Dawson. In the past few years, the team has routinely finished in the top quarter or above among nearly 300 international teams.

“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 also in the members’ appreciation.

“In both the Vienna and Miami ICAM competitions, Eddy was our biggest advocate,” said team member Dane Ullian (3L), who received an honorable mention in the spring 2013 competition.

“Eddy introduced the team members to well-known practitioners and offered practical tips based on his extensive experience. We were a much better team thanks to Eddy’s contributions.”