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The PagnatoKarp Team.

Wayne Zell

Wayne M. Zell, Esq.

Estate Planning & Legal Services


Wayne M. Zell, through his law firm Zell Law, PLLC, provides estate, tax and business succession planning for PagnatoKarp's family office clients and other clients in the D.C. Metro area and across the country, He also serves as outside counsel for selected legal matters affecting PagnatoKarp and various other businesses. Wayne delivers robust legal services designed to have a positive impact on the total financial well-being of his clients. Combining personalized services with True Fiduciary® transparency, Wayne helps streamline the lives of the families and businesses he serves.

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 35 years as a practicing tax, trusts and estates and corporate lawyer, and accountant and business advisor. At Zell Law, Wayne represents 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.

Prior to his current work through Zell Law, PLLC, Wayne spent almost 8 years as a shareholder with Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C. He owned and operated Zell Law from 2004 to 2010, and reinstated the firm in 2018.

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 2020, and was recognized on the “Legal Elite” list in Virginia Business Magazine in 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 was a regular guest columnist and blogger for the Washington Business Journal.

In the community, Wayne is actively involved in charitable activities, currently serving as Chair of the Governance Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee, Institutional Advancement Committee and Board of Directors of Northern Virginia Family Service. He also serves on the Cornerstone Board of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

Wayne holds a B.S. in Commerce (Accounting Concentration) from the University of Virginia and his Juris Doctor degree from William & Mary Law School. He resides in Reston with his wife, Lorri, and their dogs (most of the kids are grown and launched).


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. 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. http://www.virginiabusiness.com/reports/article/changing-rules.