Michael C. Schmidt, managing partner, New York Midtown office, Cozen O’Connor (Courtesy photo)

Michael Schmidt will become the managing partner of Cozen O’Connor’s Midtown New York office, the firm announced Thursday.

Schmidt takes over for Abby Wenzel, who also co-chairs the firm’s real estate practice. Schmidt, who joined Cozen O’Connor in 2005, was previously the second in command to Wenzel in the Midtown office and is vice chair of the labor and employment practice.

Schmidt will lead an office of more than 50 lawyers in Midtown. Cozen O’Connor also has a location in downtown Manhattan. Real estate, labor and employment and IP are major practices in the Midtown office, he said. The firm also added a lobbying group from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips last year.

Schmidt said he plans to continue deepening his office’s existing practice groups. While growing in New York can be challenging for out-of-state firms, he said Cozen O’Connor has done well so far. He said laterals from New York-based firms are attracted to the entrepreneurial strategy at Cozen O’Connor, and New York lawyers from other non-New York firms may find more support for their practices at Cozen O’Connor, despite that it is headquartered in Philadelphia.

“It’s certainly a difficult market, if for no other reason, you’ve got a lot of competition,” Schmidt said. “How we’ve grown this office has been with people with really impressive New York clients and New York-based practices.”