Legalzoom or other legal companies that provide forms, templates, and other best practices documents that are a great resource for individuals and companies who desire legal protection at cheaper rates. In some circumstances, I do recommend people use Legalzoom for their legal needs, such as if they desire to have a simple will drafted, prenuptial agreement, incorporation documents, or any other standard document. This is because an attorney will most likely have a database of somewhat similar form documents, and only apply minor edits to your needs. In essence, for “cookie cutter” legal services, Legalzoom is a great resource for start-ups.
However, because each patent is different, I strongly recommend hiring a patent attorney to draft a patent application for you start-up. For provisional applications, legal zoom offers 1) filing the application, 2) minor adjustments to your technical drawings, and 3) non-disclosure agreements for $265. So essentially, start-ups will pay $265 to have whatever documents they deliver to Legalzoom filed correctly. If start-ups are bootstrapped and looking for cheaper or more affordable legal services for provisional applications, I recommend that the start-up find a similar patent application in their field that is well written and use that as a template. I further recommend, the start-up filing the application themselves on the USPTO website. It is a relatively simple process that requires 1) a coversheet, which can be found here , 2) a specification, and 3) Figures (which can be hand drawn if necessary).
For utility applications, Legalzoom offers 1) drafting 5 pages of a specification, 2) 10 claims, 3) filing the patent for $2700. 5 pages of an application will not be nearly enough to describe an invention in detail to protect the invention for possible design arounds and multiple embodiments of how the invention can be completed. Because it is required for a full application, that cannot be changed, when filing a utility application, I strongly recommend start-up companies hiring a patent attorney to draft utility applications.