If you are filing a patent in the U.S., the law does not require you to have a patent agent or attorney.
That said. A patent application is not easy to draft without significant training. Even for experienced patent attorneys, with all of the changes that are occurring in the law, drafting a patent application that will stand up to a legal battle in the future is challenging, to say the least.
So, you SHOULD hire the best patent attorney that you can afford, if you really NEED a patent.
The real question is … why do you need a patent?
I’m a US registered patent attorney and make my living from preparing, filing and stewarding patent applications through the patent office.
Most innovative and creative startups don’t NEED a patent.
If you need a patent, then you should be prepared to spend the money to get a good one.