Alston & Bird, a national law firm based in Atlanta that has a large portion of its practice based in North Carolina, moved up to second on Fortune magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list.

Another N.C. company, Cary-based SAS, placed eighth. Topping the list was jam and jelly maker J.M. Smucker of Orrville, OH.

For Alston & Bird, this year marks the third consecutive year it has placed in the list’s Top 10, and the fifth consecutive year the firm has been included in the rankings. It ranked third last year and ninth on the 2002 list.

Fortune cited the firm’s benefits, which include generous maternity leave for mothers — and also for fathers who are primary caregivers.

“We are very proud of this honor because it recognizes the commitment we have made to each other,” Alston & Bird Managing Partner Ben Johnson said. “This is a fitting tribute to our goal of creating a caring and inclusive workplace and to those core values that have guided us for 110 years–.”

Nearly 100 of Alston & Bird’s 700 lawyers are based in North Carolina, including 74 lawyers in Alston & Bird’s Charlotte office and 24 in its Raleigh office. The firm also has offices in Washington, DC, and New York.

Alston & Bird: www.alston.com

SAS: www.sas.com