Law firms lead list of region’s companies with ‘top of the line’ retirement plans

If you want to fast track the road to retirement, it might help to work for a local law firm.

A San Diego-based financial information company that ranks large organizations by the quality of their 401(k) plans has named its top 25 in Washington, a list dominated by the region’s law firms.

BrightScope calculates how long an employee must work for the firm before they accrue enough money to retire comfortably. That amount is defined as having at least 75 percent of their annual income for each year spent in retirement.

For the rankings, BrightScope only evaluates firms with more than $100 million in assets in their 401(k) plan, based on their public filings, because such companies often dedicate resources within their human resources department to retirement planning, co-founder Mike Alfred said.

Employers have shifted more responsibility for retirement planning to employees in recent decades following the introduction of 401(k) plans. The Center for Retirement Research projected in 2009 that 51 percent of households were “at risk” of not being able to maintain their standard of living into retirement.

If you want to fast track the road to retirement, it might help to work for a local law firm. (Jakub Jirsak)

Alfred said a BrightScope rating above 80 out of 100 signifies a “top of the line” retirement package that often includes employer contributions, diverse investment options and low management fees.

Scores for the region’s top firms range from 82. 3 for Lockheed Martin to 86.97 for WilmerHale.

“There are a lot of great plans in the D.C. area,” Alfred said. “That’s actually not surprising to me because there is quite a bit of money between lobbyists and law firms and a smattering of other companies.”

Indeed, law firms claimed 10 spots on the list, including the top five.

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
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