Wayne M. Zell, J.D.

Wayne Zell

Chief Legal Officer

Wayne M. Zell is Chief Legal Officer at PagnatoKarp, 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’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.

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 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.

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 their four children.

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.