About Us:

Almost all of our clients are referred to our law firm from other clients, other law firms, the staff at hospitals and nursing homes in the area and other social service agencies.  Both Sean and Barbara were voted among the best lawyers in Seattle in the January 2005 issue of "Seattle Magazine."

We are members of NAELA


The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others who work with older clients and their families. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age.

Barbara A. Isenhour received her law degree from the University of Washington School of Law.  She has practiced law for over 36 years, focusing her practice on government benefits and estate planning.  She is recognized for her scholarship in the area of government benefits and special needs trusts and regularly speaks to professional groups on these topics.  She is a member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national invitation only organization of attorneys who specialize in the area of government benefits for persons with disabilities.  Barbara has been named several times as one of the city’s best attorneys in Seattle Magazine and has been selected as a "Super Lawyer" in Law and Politics Magazine.  She and her husband have three sons.  

Sean R. Bleck has practiced law for over 30 years, primarily in the areas relating to government benefits and state and federal taxes.  He has been actively involved in the development of many of the governmental policies and regulations that affect his clients and is sought out for counsel by professionals and community organizations.  He received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, his law degree from Georgetown University, and a LL.M. (Taxation) from New York University. Sean is a Past President of the Washington Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and has twice been selected as its member of the year. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), the nation’s pre-eminent estate planning organization. Sean has achieved the highest peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbel, A/V, and for many years has been named as one of the City’s best attorneys in Seattle Magazine and a "Super Lawyer" in Law and Politics Magazine.  He and his wife have two college-aged daughters.

Sara Kiviat Berkenwald received a joint law degree and masters in business administration from Seattle University School of Law and an LL.M. in Taxation from the University of Washington School of Law. Sara received her undergraduate degree in history from the University of Washington. Her practice focuses on estate planning, special needs trusts, elder law, and probate. Before joining Isenhour Bleck, Sara worked as a debtor side bankruptcy attorney representing clients in federal court. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Cardozo Society, volunteers as an attorney for the WSBA's First Responder Will Clinic, and participates in the Northwest Immigrant's Rights Project as pro-bono counsel. She and her husband have a baby girl.

Laura Dangel is a legal assistantWhen you call for an appointment Laura is often the first person you will speak with.  She will get information regarding your legal concerns and schedule an appointment for you to meet with an attorney.  Laura has a background in special needs trust administration and real property.  Outside of the office she can found sailing in the summer, skiing in the winter, and working on airplanes and helicopters with her husband.

Linda Jakiel is a legal assistant with the firm. Her area of expertise is in working with clients on Medicaid applications and monitoring the process of getting approval of the applications with the Department of Social and Health Services.  She also manages probate administration and the annual reporting for trusts. Linda additionally commits time to volunteer for the Center for Living and Dying, Hospice, and Eastside Ski & Ride.

Lisa Dockendorff is our receptionist and office assistant.  You will have the pleasure of meeting her when you visit our firm.  Prior to her move to Seattle, Lisa attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.  She plans to finish her degree in education with a focus on music in the classroom.  In her time away from the office Lisa enjoys playing golf and making jewelry.

Lisa Ernst

Lisa is our Administrative Assistant. She came to us from the non-profit sector and has experience in research, fundraising, advocacy based counseling and grief support. One of her greatest strengths is her ability to actively listen to people’s concerns. She will be one of the staff members available to assist you. When calling our office, she will gather information regarding your situation and assist you in scheduling an appointment with an attorney. She volunteers her time with the Domestic Abuse Women’s Network (DAWN), enjoys walking, hiking and photography.


Attorneys in our firm are frequently asked to speak to professional organizations around the state on issues involving special needs trusts or Medicaid planning.

Barbara recently lectured to the following professional groups:


  • Annual convention of the Seattle Estate Planning Council on special needs trusts
  • Snohomish County Estate Planning Council on Medicaid issues
  • Eastside Estate Planning Council on special needs trusts
  • Stetson University Law School national conference on special needs trusts
  • University of Washington School of Social Work on surrogate decision making
  • Western Washington Certified Public Accountants’ annual meeting on Medicaid
  • Northwest Trust Conference on special needs trusts

Sean recently lectured to the following professional groups:

  • Washington Bar Association annual meeting for estate planning attorneys on Medicaid planning issues
  • Washington State Bar Association seminars in Seattle and Yakima on Medicaid planning issues
  • Estate Planning Councils for Seattle, Snohomish County, and Tacoma, on Medicaid planning issues
  • Annual meeting for the Elder Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association on Medicaid planning issues
  • Long Term Care Ombudsman Program training for volunteers on surrogate decision making