You want to do what you do best. If you are a Sacramento inventor, you don't want to invest a lot of time learning the patent process. You could save money by not using an attorney to make your way through the patent process, but it might not be worth the risk, since mistakes could delay or damage protection for your invention.
It would be frustrating to wait up to two years for patent approval, only to learn that your patent rights aren't what you thought they were. Even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recommends using a patent attorney. This blog describes some complexities of the patent process.
Every patent dream starts with a patent application. Actually, it starts with deciding which application is appropriate and compiling information for the application. There is a lot of information the PTO wants to review and modifications may be necessary.
An application must show in extreme detail what an invention is, what it looks like, how it works, what it does and the advantages it has. You are required to show how the invention was conceived and developed and address the patentability of your creation. An explanation of patentability is provided here.
A patent application can be rejected by a patent examiner or reviewing court, if it lacks information and detail or claims don't match what an invention does. Each mistake delays the patent process and allows more time to go by, that could have been used to profit from an exclusive invention.
The patent system was set up for the good of the public, not to frustrate inventors. Patents have a private shelf-life. The application process is so stringent because, eventually, the public will be allowed to use your invention.
Remember, the attorney you use during the patent application process can be the same one who protects your intellectual property once a patent is granted.
Source: FindLaw, "Patent Law: How do I Secure a Patent?" Sep. 07, 2014