Atlantis’ founder, Michael Braa, was never supposed to be a private investigator. After serving in the United States Navy as an Operations Specialist, Michael enrolled and graduated from U.C. Berkeley’s College of Letters and Sciences. From there, he was accepted into California Western School of Law in San Diego, California. After law school, Michael returned to Fresno, California where he and his wife settled with their four children and Michael began a successful law practice. But in 2007 it all came to a disappointing end. Reeling from a separation followed by a divorce, a growing dissolution with the legal field, and the beginning of the great recession, Michael’s practice began to suffer. In 2008, the State Bar filed an accusation against Michael’s law practice. Michael walked away, never to practice law again. In November 2009, Michael Braa was officially disbarred from the practice of law.
Uncertain what would come next, Michael accepted an invitation to assist on some cases from friend who was a private investigator. It wasn’t long before Michael began to realize that his life path, from his days as an Operations Specialist in the Navy through the last day he practiced law, seemed to be in preparation for this purpose. They say God works in mysterious ways.
Stepping into this new career was not easy. With his troubled past, Michael had to run faster and jump higher than everyone else. To be successful, Michael had to re-invent the way information was gathered and prepared. Every fact presented needed to have multiple, reproducible sources. Interviews needed to be either recorded or witnessed by a third party. Eyewitness accounts did not exist unless they were supported by video or photographic evidence. Moreover, every report had be prepared so that it could pass legal challenges regarding admissibility in a court of law.
These standards, developed out of necessity, are now the standards which Atlantis incorporates into every case. Multiple sources for every fact. Demonstrable evidence for every assertion. Clear and concise report writing. Our associate investigators must first complete a period of field training and demonstrate these skills before they are allowed to work on a case. Prior to receiving their license, they will need to log over 6,000 hours of investigative work. While at Atlantis, they are not only trained in the gathering of information, but how that information needs to be presented to the client. Atlantis is more than just an investigation firm, it is a learning environment for the development of a new generation of private investigators. We started off as better because we had to be. We remain better because we want to be.