The U.S. economy began to rebound in 2011, but that was not enough to convince law firms to ramp up associate hiring. Most law schools sent smaller percentages of their 2011 classes into first-year associate jobs at the nation’s largest 250 law firms than they did in 2010. Among the 50 schools most popular with hiring firms, 22 percent of 2011 graduates landed associate jobs — down from 27 percent in 2010.

We’ve ranked the top 50 law schools by the percentage of 2011 juris doctor graduates who took jobs at NLJ 250 firms, the nation’s largest by headcount as identified by The National Law Journal‘s annual survey. We’ve also identified firm favorites — the schools where NLJ 250 firms recruited the most graduates. Finally, we have identified the law schools that saw the most alumni promoted to partner in 2011.

— Karen Sloan