VA Business Legal Elite Cover

Wayne Zell Named to Legal Elite By Virginia Business

Virginia Business Legal Elite named Wayne M. Zell, Chief Legal Officer at PagnatoKarp, to its list for Taxes/Estates/Trusts/Elder Law.

Now in its 19th edition, the Legal Elite began in 2000 as a collaboration with the Virginia Bar Association, and this year includes 1,000 lawyers. Virginia Business annually polls more than 14,000 attorneys in the commonwealth, asking them to select from their peers the best lawyers in each practice category. Since its beginning, the number of Legal Elite categories has grown from 10 to 18 for Virginia’s lawyers to vote on the best in their profession.

Wayne ZellWayne 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 2018.¹ 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.

At PagnatoKarp, Wayne Zell is 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 families.

Wayne’s extensive background as an attorney, CPA and entrepreneur provides 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.

Read more about the Virginia Business Legal Elite HERE.


At PagnatoKarp, our Wealth Management Experience helps streamline your life through high touch sophistication, high tech innovation and True Fiduciary® transparency. Core experiences place your interests first and fuse investments, planning, tax, legal, banking, trust, family and concierge. With over $3.7 billion assets under advisement², PagnatoKarp is frequently ranked on top financial advisor lists by Barron’s and Forbes and is a Virginia Best Places to Work³. Visit or 703-468-2700.

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¹Award 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. 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.