Welcome Wayne Zell

PagnatoKarp Welcomes Wayne Zell To Its Executive Team As Chief Legal Officer

Wayne M. Zell joins PagnatoKarp as Chief Legal Officer, responsible for estate, tax and business succession planning for family office clients, and serves as in-house General Counsel for compliance and legal matters affecting the firm. Wayne delivers robust family office services designed to have a positive impact on the total financial well-being of clients. Combining personalized services with innovative technology and True Fiduciary® transparency, Wayne helps streamline the lives of the families we serve.

“Wayne is a talented attorney with great business insight and experience, not only with our clients but also with our business. We have relied on his counsel for many years and look forward to having him apply that experience and technical expertise as a member of our executive team in managing our family office operations,” stated Paul Pagnato, founder and CEO of PagnatoKarp.

Wayne’s extensive background as an attorney, CPA and entrepreneur provide him a wealth of insight into estate, tax and business planning operations and challenges. He brings more than 33 years as a practicing tax and corporate lawyer, accountant and business advisor counseling clients on estate, tax and business planning, business succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, and executive compensation in myriad industries including technology, government contracting, real estate, retailing and hospitality. Wayne routinely advises clients in structuring and preparing basic and complex estate planning and business planning documents.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Paul Pagnato and David Karp for over 20 years,” commented Zell, “and am very excited to pursue this unique career opportunity to join their growing multi-family office and team of professionals dedicated to transparency through True Fiduciary® standards.”

Prior to joining PagnatoKarp, Wayne spent almost 8 years as a shareholder with Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C and remains Of Counsel for select legacy clients. Wayne owned and operated Zell Law from 2004 to 2010 and reinstated the firm in 2018 to work with PagnatoKarp clients and selected other high net worth clients.

Wayne has an AV Preeminent® rating, the highest given by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™, for his legal ability and general ethical standards. He was selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Tax Law from 2013 to 2018, and was recognized on the “Legal Elite” list in Virginia Business Magazine in 2011. A frequent lecturer, podcast host and media contributor on tax, business and estate planning topics, Wayne hosted the popular educational radio talk show ‘Blueprint for Wealth’ from 2007 to 2013 and is a regular guest columnist and blogger for the Washington Business Journal.

In the community, Wayne is actively involved in charitable activities, currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Northern Virginia Family Service and on the Cornerstone Board of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

Wayne holds a B.S. from the University of Virginia and his Juris Doctor degree from William & Mary Law School. He resides in Reston with his wife, Lorri, and at least one of his four children.

View the Press Release here: PagnatoKarp Welcomes Wayne M. Zell To Its Executive Team as Chief Legal Officer


At PagnatoKarp, we help high-net-worth families streamline and move forward. Our boutique team of professionals manage complex needs through investments, financial planning, tax, legal, private banking, family governance and concierge. With True Fiduciary® standards of transparency, we embrace the legal obligation to put your interests first while focusing on asset protection, cost, and opportunities.

Please contact PagnatoKarp at 703-468-2700 to schedule a private, confidential meeting at your convenience.

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Award Disclosures: Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent® Rating: Martindale-Hubble® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards. AV Preeminent® is the highest of the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings™. This rating signifies that a large number of the lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellent for their legal knowledge, communication skills and ethical standards. Best Lawyers® recognition is based entirely on peer review. The methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. Best Lawyers employs a sophisticated, conscientious, rational, and transparent survey process designed to elicit meaningful and substantive evaluations of the quality of legal services. https://www.bestlawyers.com/ The Virginia Business Legal Elite list is compiled from nominations and votes submitted by the members of the Virginia Bar Association and Virginia State Bar. It has been published annually since 2000 by the magazine.