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Best States for Small Firm 401(k) Plans

Class standings. Law school rankings. Salary comparisons.

The list goes on in the competitive law business. But there's a new list: best retirement plans.

Unlike salary increases -- which law firms announce to attract top talent -- nobody really publishes retirement benefits by firm. But now, with help from Above the Law, there is the best small firm 401(k) plans by state.

Best Contributions

You would think that the best states for employer contributions would mirror the best states by salary. New York and California firms, for example, typically pay the highest salaries.

But Washington, D.C. firms contribute significantly more to 401(k) plans than all other states. According to reports, the capitol's small firms contribute on average $9,107 annually to their employees' plans.

New Yorkers and California attorneys get $5,598 and $6,198 respectively from their small firms. New Hampshire bottoms out the list with $3,689.

Of course, these figures reflect matching funds. So it may be that Washington lawyers are saving more for the future than lawyers elsewhere? When you factor in cost-of-living, it's a whole other story.

Best Balance

ForUsAll, a 401(k) advisor, put together the underlying information from the Department of Labor "Form 5500" to advise small and medium businesses. Using the report, Above the Law found by far the most small law firms in California.

Golden State law firms -- those with fewer than 100 employees -- showed an average balance of $164,786 for their lawyers. Arkansas attorneys had an average of $296,009.

So what does this all mean for attorneys who count on retirement plans as much as salaries? Like predicting politics, it's hard to say where the future will go.

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