I have heard that writing a good patent is crucial to prevent your idea from being stolen in the future. However, I was wondering how one goes about evaluating lawyers to see how good they are. The lawyers I called seem to vary widely in how they practice. One lawyer has a free initial consult and charges $250 for a patent search. Another charges $1500 for the initial consult + the patent search. I was wondering, why do their costs vary so much? Is this indicative of their expertise or do they just mark up charges arbitrarily?