Legal People

Our Legal Team

Undoubtedly, our firm’s success is attributable to an extraordinary group of experienced people dedicated to offering smart recruitment solutions to strengthen client organizations. Many of our search consultants are attorneys and hold advanced degrees and professional certifications.

Joyce Talmadge, Ph.D.

President, Howard-Sloan Legal Search
Joyce Talmadge is President of Howard-Sloan Legal Search and, for 30 years, the Director of the Intellectual Property Group. Joyce specializes in Intellectual Property nationwide and internationally for law firms and corporations.

Joyce has been a featured speaker before such groups as the Association of Corporate Patent Counsel, and she has had articles published in The National Law Journal and Corporate Legal Times. Joyce has testified as an expert witness in the area of Intellectual Property recruitment. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University and graduated cum laude from Barnard College.


American Intellectual Property Law Association
Association of Corporate Patent Counsel

Meredith Ritter

Vice President, Intellectual Property
Meredith J. Ritter, Vice President, specializes in the recruitment and placement of intellectual property attorneys nationwide. For over a decade, her clients have included intellectual property boutiques, general practice law firms and corporations.

Meredith received her B.B.A. from George Washington University.

Nancy J. Alzerez

Senior Vice President, In-house and Law
Nancy J. Alzerez, Esq., is Senior Vice President of In-House and Law Firm Placement for the New York tri-state area and has been recruiting since 1997. She specializes in the placement of corporate attorneys in all areas of expertise on behalf of in-house legal departments and law firms. Nancy places in-house attorneys at all levels ranging from staff attorney to General Counsel. Her diversified client base includes Fortune 500 companies, investment banks, commercial banks, asset management companies and funds.

Prior to becoming an executive recruiter, Nancy was a litigation associate at Lansner & Kubitschek where her practice focused on Federal Civil Rights and family law matters. Nancy has a J.D. from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and a B.A. in History from Brandeis University.

Lee Mauss, Esq.

Senior Director, Partners/Groups/Mergers
Lee Mauss, Esq. is a Senior Director at Howard-Sloan Legal Search where she specializes in recruiting and placing groups and individual partners with AmLaw 200 firms. Lee’s recruitment of partners focuses on opening offices and starting up practice groups at top tier firms throughout Texas, including in Houston, Dallas and Austin.

Previously, Lee worked as an ERISA associate at Smith & Downey, P.A. where her practice focused on HIPAA and ERISA compliance.

Lee earned her J.D. in 1987 from the Boston University School of Law, where she served as a member of its National Appellate Advocacy Team. She earned her B.S. in Business Administration, magna cum laude, in 1984, from S.U.N.Y. Buffalo, where she was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honor society.

Mitchell L. Berger


Mitchell Berger, Chief Executive Officer, joined Howard-Sloan in 1983 and assumed leadership in 1991. Under his direction and guidance, the organization has grown dramatically to become one of the leading global search firms.

Mitch maintains a commitment to coaching people and to professionalism. His passion for coaching search consultants is matched by his enjoyment in having coached his daughters’ sports teams.

Mitch holds a B.S. from Washington University in St. Louis.

Eric Cwass, Esq.

Vice President, Intellectual Property
Eric Cwass, Esq., Vice President, specializes in the placement of intellectual property attorneys worldwide. His clients include corporations, intellectual property boutiques and general practice law firms.

Eric joined Howard-Sloan Legal Search in 1997 and has more than 25 years of experience in legal recruiting.

Eric received his B.A. in Psychology from Stony Brook University and his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

Andrea Stern

President, Compliance
Andrea Stern, President of Compliance Search for Howard-Sloan, specializes in the placement of compliance professionals, globally. Her clients include financial institutions with offices around the world. Andrea joined Howard-Sloan with over two decades successfully recruiting compliance professionals.

Andrea is widely recognized as an industry expert and is frequently contacted by trade associations and publications for information about trends in compliance careers.

Andrea received her B.A. with a major in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh.

Deborah A. Garfield, Esq.

Vice President, Partners/Groups/Mergers
Deborah A. Garfield, Esq., Vice President, joined Howard-Sloan Legal Search in 1999. Previously, she practiced law as an associate at Gordon Altman Butowsky Weitzen Shalov & Wein and she served as an Assistant General Counsel of Prudential Mutual Funds, Inc. Her understanding of the legal landscape is invaluable in connection with placing individual partners and partner groups and with respect to negotiating law firm mergers.

Deborah received her J.D., cum laude, from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she was an editor of the Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal. She earned an A.B. in English, cum laude, from Bryn Mawr College.

Deborah is happily married and the proud mother of twins.

Joseph V. Alonzo

President, Legal Services

Joe Alonzo is head of Howard-Sloan Legal Services division where he and his group help global providers of software and services in the commercial litigation market build their teams. The group handles a wide range of positions in the Electronic Discovery “eDiscovery”, computer forensic, litigation support and data governance verticals of the legal industry. Focusing on positions in enterprise sales and sales management to project management / directors, law department consulting and operations as well as litigation support. Joe brings 15 years of direct recruiting experience to Howard-Sloan and 10 years of recruiting specialization in the eDiscovery / computer forensic industry; this contributed to his division recently being awarded Winner for Best Legal Recruiter in 2018 New York Law Journal “Best of”. In addition, Joe served for nearly four years as President of the NYC Metro Chapter for the Association of Certified eDiscovery Professionals (ACEDS), a 4,000 member national organization geared towards industry certification, education, professional development, collaboration and networking among other industry professionals.

Linda A. Ward, Esq.

Vice President, Partners/Groups/Mergers
Linda A. Ward, Esq., Vice President, Howard-Sloan Legal Search, specializes in strategic global law firm counseling, the placement of preeminent partners and significant practice groups, the opening of tactical offices, and targeted law firm mergers.

Prior to this endeavor, Ms. Ward practiced law and played an integral role as a legal and financial consultant in the corporate, restructuring, business ventures, and tax arenas. She was the Chief Financial Officer/Vice President of an international manufacturing concern and national real estate enterprise. Ms. Ward began her career in the accounting field, where she became one of the youngest partners at a top tier international accounting firm.

Ms. Ward earned her juris doctorate from Brooklyn Law School, where she was a member of the International Law Journal. Ms. Ward earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Brooklyn College, where she received the Wall Street Journal Award and subsequently went on to earn her Certified Public Accounting license.

Ms. Ward has been featured in Crain’s – 40 Under 40; a Crain’s-follow-up story, and a book on women who have broken the glass ceiling. She has lectured at New York University on Strategic Business Planning. Ms. Ward has also served as co-chairman for several charitable events; been a magazine financial articles contributing writer; and a former Board Member of the Swedish Theater.

Louise J. Gilmore, Esq.

Vice President, Partners/Groups/Mergers
Louise J. Gilmore, Esq., Vice President, specializes in the focused recruitment and placement of highly-regarded partners and practice groups, the strategic opening of offices, and law firm mergers. Louise brings more than twenty-five years of legal experience as an attorney, litigator and law teacher in the areas of labor, employment, telecommunications and entertainment law. Louise is admitted to practice law in Texas and Ohio.

Previously, Louise served as the CEO of the American Guild of Musical Artists, a national performing arts union. She worked abroad as a Ford Foundation Fellow and as an attorney for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Louise was a law professor at Metropolitan College of New York in the graduate program for Media Management and a participant in the Harvard Program on Negotiations.

Louise received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D., with honors, from the University of Toledo College of Law, where she was elected Editor of the Law Journal and captain of the championship National Moot Court team.

Our Location


555 5th Avenue, 3rd Floor
New York,NY 10017
P: 212-704-0444


555 5th Avenue,

3rd Floor,

New York, NY 10017

Phone. 212-704-0444


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