While big firms like Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe hire business-minded recruits to handle administrative or operational tasks, Holme Roberts & Owen is experimenting with another idea.

The 250-lawyer firm, based in Denver, has put a seasoned business executive — formerly a lawyer — on the front lines of its leadership. The firm announced last month that Robert Starzel, who recently rejoined the firm as of counsel, will co-manage the 18-lawyer office alongside current San Francisco managing partner Robert Stolebarger.