Wayne Zell Photo
  • Bio

Wayne Zell

Managing Member & CEO

Wayne M. Zell, Esq. is the CEO and Managing Member of Zell Law. He has devoted his legal, public accounting, and business advisory career to counseling clients in a variety of industries, including investors, technology companies, government contractors, and non-profit organizations. His clients also include for-profit and non-profit executives, service providers, and high-net-worth individuals.

Wayne has extensive experience in complex estate planning and business planning matters. On estate planning matters, Wayne regularly advises clients in structuring and preparing intricate revocable and irrevocable trusts, basic estate planning (i.e., wills, medical directives, and powers of attorney), family limited partnerships, and limited liability companies, life insurance vehicles, charitable giving arrangements (including charitable lead and remainder trusts), private and public foundations and grant-making programs and asset protection planning.

In business planning matters, Wayne represents the owners of closely held businesses and non-profits on general business formation and operations, tax and succession planning matters, mergers and acquisitions, and executive compensation and CEO/founder issues.

Prior to joining the firm, Wayne practiced as an attorney and as a CPA with a variety of law firms and public accounting firms. He also served as General Counsel and CFO of YellowBrix, Inc., an internet content provider and enterprise software developer. He was a Senior Manager in the Washington National Tax Service Office of Price Waterhouse, specializing in tax-exempt organizations and flow-through entities, including partnerships, limited liability companies and trusts, and he has practiced as a certified public accountant since 1980.

Wayne is admitted to practice as an attorney in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. He currently serves on the Board of Directors, Governance Committee and Executive Committee of Northern Virginia Family Service. He also serves as a member of the Cornerstone Board at the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

Wayne is an active speaker and writer on estate planning, business planning, and tax planning topics. For more detailed content authored by Wayne, please see the firm's videos and podcasts.

Wayne has received an AV rating, the highest rating granted by Martindale-Hubbell, the preeminent law directory and attorney rating service. Since 2013, Wayne has also been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America for Taxation. He lives in Reston, Virginia, with his beautiful wife, Lorri, and their four dogs (his four amazing kids are grown up and launching).

Areas Of Practice

  • Estate Planning
  • Business Planning
  • Tax Planning

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia,1996
  • Maryland,1985
  • U.S. Tax Court,1985
  • District of Columbia,1988
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims,1987
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland,1987


  • The College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, Williamsburg, Virginia
    • J.D. -1985
    • Honors: Dean's List
    • Honors: BNA Law Student Award
    • Major: Law
  • University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce, Charlottesville, Virginia
    • B.S. -1980
    • Honors: Dean's List
    • Honors: With Distinction
    • Major: Commerce (Concentration in Accounting)

Past Employment

  • Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C.,Shareholder, 2011 -2018
  • Pagnato Karp Partners, LLC,Chief Legal Officer, 2018 – 2019

Honors & Awards

  • BNA Law Student Award- 1985
  • AV Rated, Martindale-Hubbell: 1996 - Present
  • Best Lawyers in America- Tax Law: 2013 – 2020; Trusts and Estates: 2020
  • Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, Marquis Who’s Who, June 2020

Classes & Seminars

  • Virginia Nonprofit Organizations, NBI Seminars - 2005
  • Advanced Estate Planning, Lorman Education Services - 2006
  • Estate Planning (CFP Accreditation), Bryant University / UBS - 2006
  • Estate Planning, George Mason University School of Business, Financial Planning and Wealth Management Concentration, Fall 2021

Pro Bono Activities

  • Northern Virginia Family Service: Governance Committee, Chair, 2017 - Present
  • Northern Virginia Family Service: Executive Committee, Board Member, 2017 - Present
  • McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, Cornerstone Board Member, 2010 - Present

Published Works

  • Wayne is an active speaker and writer on estate planning, business planning, and tax planning topics.


  • Phi Delta Theta
  • Certified Legal Specialties
  • Certified Public Accountant, VSCPA, MACPA,1980

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • DC Bar Association, Member,1988 to Present
  • American Bar Association, Member,1986 to Present
  • Virginia State Bar Association, Member,1996 to Present
  • Maryland State Bar Association, Member,1986 to Present

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