Wayne M. Zell Esq.

Title: Managing Member
Company: Zell Law PLLC
Location: Reston, Virginia, United States

Wayne M. Zell, Esq. Managing Partner at Zell Law, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Lawyers for dedication, achievements, and leadership in business and estate planning.

With over 35 years of professional experience to his credit, Wayne M. Zell, Esq., holds considerable expertise in estate planning, business planning, tax planning, and trustee and fiduciary services. Since 2018, he has excelled as the owner of Zell Law PLLC, a small firm founded on the model of his previous private practice of the same name that he had from 2004 to 2010. Prior to his current work, he was the Chief Legal Officer for PagnatoKarp Partners LLC from 2018 to 2019 and a shareholder at Odin, Feldman & Pittleman from 2011 to 2018.

Mr. Zell’s present goal is to grow his firm into a destination for families and entrepreneurs who need their estate and business matters handled competently and efficiently. Above all, he hopes to be remembered as someone who was always there to help his clients.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Zell was a partner with Mintz Levin from 2000 to 2004 and a partner in the tax department of Powell, Goldstein & Murphy from 1999 to 2000. He served as the Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel for Newsreal Inc. from 1998 to 1999, and was previously a partner with Freedman, Levy, Kroll & Simonds, an income partner with O’Connor & Hannan, a senior manager for Price Waterhouse, a senior tax manager and tax associate for Coopers & Lybrand, and a tax associate with Venable LLP. He began his career as a tax accountant at Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1980.

Attributing much of his success to great mentors and an acquired ability to listen, Mr. Zell is perpetually motivated to help clients achieve their dreams of wealth and freedom. He considers the most important lessons that have benefited his professional growth to be an attitude of gratitude and keeping an open mind. A hallmark of Mr. Zell’s practice philosophy is embracing innovative ideas, technologies, and ways of solving legal and problems using his business expertise. Furthermore, he stands out in his field for his passion for helping people, his broad experience in in tax accounting and business, and his innate creativity. He would advise young and aspiring professionals that, to succeed in law today, you need to really love the law and all the reading, writing, history, thought and debate it requires.

Alongside his primary responsibilities, Mr. Zell served as the General Counsel and Secretary of Telepad Corp. from 1992 to 1994 and has spent a number of years as an educator as well. Holding a position on the Cornerstone Society Board of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia, he has also been an instructor for tax courses at the National Business Institute and an estate planning instructor at Bryant University. He will be teaching estate planning at George Mason University in the spring of 2021 in GMU’s newly-launched CFP accreditation program and has been asked to serve on its Advisory Board. In order to keep abreast of developments in his field, he maintains professional affiliations with the Virginia Bar Association, the Maryland State Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar, and the American Bar Association.

Well-regarded in his field, Mr. Zell is a regular contributor of articles to professional journals. In 1993 and 1995, he authored two editions of “Elimination of the Lobbying Deduction” and was a columnist for the Washington Business Journal from 2005 to 2010. Additionally, he had a number of articles published in the National Law Journal between 2010 and 2019. He also has proffered his expertise over the radio, hosting “Blueprint for Wealth,” a popular educational program, on 1500AM, WFED, from 2004 to 2013.

Mr. Zell currently volunteers his time with Northern Virginia Family Service, a local charity dedicated to lifting individuals and families from poverty to hopeful futures. At NVFS, Mr. Zell serves on the Executive Committee, the Institutional Advancement Committee and as Chair of the Governance Committee. He is particularly proud of the work he did with the Children’s Charities Foundation between 1995 and 2011, where he obtained its tax-exempt status and was active at various times as General Counsel, member of the Board of Directors, Committee Chair and Treasurer.  During his tenure with the foundation, they raised over 20 million dollars supporting disadvantaged and at-risk children and youth in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area.

Mr. Zell also was a member of the Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia, where he was on the Budget Committee from 1991 to 1992 and a member of the adult choir from 1991 to 1999. From 1999 to 2012, he was a member and head of the Adult Choir and Worship Committee for the Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation, where he and his wife led services for children and young adults and where he also taught in the religious school.

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Commerce, concentrating in Accounting, from the McIntire School of Commerce at UVA, Mr. Zell was encouraged by his father to enter the field of law, because of the value that a background in both accounting and law offered. While attending law school at the College of William & Mary, he immersed himself in the study of tax law and focused on estate and business planning. He obtained his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1985, was licensed to practice law by the Maryland State Bar that same year, and was later admitted before the District of Columbia Bar in 1988 and the Virginia State Bar in 1996. He is deeply grateful to the wonderful mentors he has had throughout his education and career, including Professors John Donaldson and John Lee, and attorneys Jacques Schlenger, Walter Freedman, and Jimmy Pittleman.

Recognized early on with induction into the Raven Society at the University of Virginia, Mr. Zell also received the BNA Law Student Award for the most significant improvement as a law student at William & Mary. He holds an AV Preeminent rating through Martindale-Hubbell and has been named a Best Lawyer in tax law since 2013 and in both tax and trusts and estates in 2020. For excellence in his career, he has also been presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, which is the highest honor conferred by Marquis Who’s Who.

Born in Washington, D.C., to Samuel R. Zell and Sarita Hochberg, Mr. Zell has been happily married to his wife, Lorri Jo Clark, since 1990. Together they are the proud parents of four children, Arianna Lea, Sonya Elayne, Ethan Clark and Jared Benjamin, who have all accomplished an incredible amount on their own both academically and professionally. His family also includes four miniature English Cream dachshunds named Brutus, Sunny, and twins Sugar and Spice. In his free time, Mr. Zell enjoys swimming, biking, and singing, playing and recording music.


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