You'll want to be able to demonstrate ties to the area, which you should be able to do if you are from WI, IA, ND, SD or MN. Generally, having grown up in one of these states is usually enough to get your foot in the door. During the interview, be prepared to answer why you are looking at a MN firm over the New York firms. Some people will be skepitcal, but most firms are very happy to have summer associates from NYU/Columbia and other big east coast schools.
Thanks! I definitely like the area and grew up not far away. I also like the work/life balance at Minneapolis firms a lot more than NY firms. The one thing that concerns me is potentially fewer/lesser exit options. Do you think that is a rational concern, or would the exit options be more similar than I realize?
If you had to sell someone on why MN firms are better to work at than NY firms, what would you tell them?
There are obviously going to be better exit options from a Vault 50 firm than from one of the local Minnesota firms, even Faegre and Dorsey. That being said, the Minnesota firms will provide you with good exit opportunities around the 4-5 year mark if you are interested in Minnesota companies. There are a number of fortune 500 companies to which you can lateral after a few years at a top Minnesota firm. The further away from the top you go, however, the harder it will be to lateral to one of these. If you go to a top NY firm, you will obviously be more attractive on paper to lateral, but you'll still have to go through the "why do you want to move here" interviews.
Regarding why MN firms are better to work at than NY firms, it is hard to say. Assuming you are talking about the big NY firms, the only really benefit a MN firm is going to have is immediate client contact, earlier responsibility, and less hours. We can't pay or bill what the coastal firms bill. We are on a very different business model. A consequence is that you aren't going to get all the same perks that you will at a top coastal firm. However, while there are only about four or five firms in Minnesota that I would consider Biglaw, I think each provides a fantastic opportunity to build a practice and learn. Granted, you'll be doing document review as a junior associate just like any other junior associate, but you'll be exposed to other legal skills early on as well.