As for the quartiles, it isn't as bad as it sounds. They tell you the exact GPA range for each quartile, so if you are near the top of the 2nd quartile, that will be obvious when you list your GPA and the quartile range on your resume. So, for example:
Class of 2007: 67 per quartile
1st Quartile - 4.197 - 3.420
2nd Quartile - 3.419 - 3.198
3rd Quartile - 3.197 - 2.914
4th Quartile - 2.913 -
If your GPA is 3.419, and you put on your resume:
"GPA 3.419, 2nd Quartile range 3.198-3.419"
Then they know that you are right on the borderline, and they probably won't exclude you from consideration while considering your classmate with the 3.420 GPA who was ranked 67th.
The law school also has off-campus recruiting. The career services staff is absolutely amazing in going out of their way to help you, and they know all the alums who are now working at the firms on the coasts and will help you make those connections. It seems like once the U of MN gets its foot in the door at a big firm, the door is likely to start opening for others, and the career services people play a big role in that. Professors can also be incredibly helpful in that regard, because most of them aren't from the mid-west and they like to see the reputation of the school boosted by getting more of those costal placements.