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Brian Jarmain ’98 on a Successful Career Shaped by Serendipity, Persistence, and St. John’s Law Connections

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Brian Jarmain ‘98 arrived at St. John’s Law intent on a career in the investment industry. His interest in the field was sparked by his prior work as a corporate paralegal at Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he was exposed to the legal side of investing and lending. At St. John’s, he took classes that related to business, finance, and bankruptcy, including Creditors’ Rights, the Uniform Commercial Code, Corporate Finance, and Banking Law. And, through an amalgam of serendipity, tenacity, and St. John’s connections, he landed his first job in the field during his 1L year.

“At the time, I was still living in Manhattan from my Davis Polk days, and commuting home from the Queens campus via the E/F train,” Jarmain recalls. “One evening, as I’m coming out of the subway station at 52nd Street wearing a St. John’s Law sweatshirt, a gentleman I later found out to be David Hoyt ’92 asks me if I’m a current student there and, with my affirmative response, inquires about the type of law I’m interested in. I tell him that I’m looking to use my law degree to get into business transactions. As it turns out, David had been at the Law School the week before to post a law clerk job in his investment firm. He hands me his business card and says to call if I’m interested in the job.”

Over the next two weeks, Jarmain called about the position four or five times, leaving a message each time, but did not hear back. Determined to make a connection, he tried again about a month later, finally got through to Hoyt, and was invited in for an interview. “The interview went very well and, at the beginning of my second year at St. John’s, I started as a clerk in the legal department at Third Avenue Management,” Jarmain shares. “Nine months later, I was working there full time, and by graduation, I had moved to the business side of the firm and commenced a career in the distressed investment industry.”

Jarmain is now Executive Director of Credit Sourcing and Trading at Silver Point Capital, a multibillion- dollar private investment fund headquartered in Greenwich, CT that specializes in distressed credit and other special situation investing. He analyzes legal documents and negotiates transactions daily, and credits the “excellent and practical legal education” he received at St. John’s Law, as well as the understanding he gained here about “the importance of ethics in the legal and business worlds,” as among the reasons why he has endured in his field.

St. John’s Law alumni connections also continue to be a positive force in Jarmain’s professional life. “With many St. John’s graduates in the bankruptcy bar, we are constantly exchanging investment ideas and referring business among ourselves,” he says. On a more personal note, Jarmain is married to Law School alumna Francesca Sena ’97. “We did not know each other at St. John’s,” Jarmain explains. “Rather, I met her in the business world, coincidentally through the same gentleman who noticed my St. John’s Law sweatshirt outside the subway station and then gave me my first job – David Hoyt. My wife worked for David years later when he was at a large law firm, and he introduced us when we were about to work on a deal together. So, it’s pretty easy to see how much I’ve benefitted from all these wonderful St. John’s Law connections.”