I want to apply for some patents. I have no idea where to start.

I want to patent a product that I am trying to build and I am just simply simply daunted by the task. And I am not completely ignorant to "legalese" either. I have successfully won a small claims case by myself years ago. Googling "How to apply for a patent" and such has led me down roads that I get completely lost in.

Basically, I need a patent lawyer. But I live in Los Angeles, and there are countless numbers of patent lawyers. All of which I'm scared would love to prey on a guy like me, who doesn't know what I'm doing.

Does anyone have any pointers or can send me in the right direction in finding a patent lawyer? I just want to properly apply for these patents and move on to real innovation I'm trying to accomplish.

Thanks!