Students Track Down Real-Life Private Investigator

Posted by on February 11, 2013

Minnesota School of Business-Rochester paralegal degree and criminal justice degree students are learning about litigation this quarter. These programs incorporate hands-on learning into the classroom by having students create mock client files and draft correspondence, summons and complaints, discovery requests, and motions. 

paralegal degree, criminal justice degreeStudents also prepare a trial notebook and learn investigation and interview techniques. To provide a well-rounded education, guest speakers are added to the classroom for students to gain real-world experience and explore career options. That’s where industry professionals come in!

Recently, Tim Braatz, owner of Atlas Investigations, located in Rochester, Minn., spoke to the Litigation class about his career since he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies. Tim shared his personal experiences of over 25 years in surveillance, criminal defense investigations, insurance and injury claim investigations, insurance claim and mortgage fraud, and other types of fields of investigation available to paralegal and criminal justice graduates. 

His investigation career began with a paralegal internship, and then he worked as a staff investigator for law firms in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and later in La Crosse, Wis.  He also worked for over five years as a private detective and district manager at two different private investigation firms in Maryland and Virginia.  In 1994, Tim opened Atlas Investigations, and he continues to work throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa as a licensed private investigator. 

Students were able to ask questions and receive advice on how to begin a career as a private investigator and paralegal. Of the time spent hearing about Tim’s background, students acquired practical information that complements their textbook theories.

Kelly Derby, a student earning her paralegal bachelor’s degree, stated, “Tim Braatz had very good advice for us as paralegal students. He had great stories to tell about his investigative endeavors. He opened our eyes to yet another aspect of paralegal job opportunities like investigation!” 

Another student in the paralegal program, Amanda Antognini, stated, “I liked hearing all of his stories of weird situations [he investigated]. I learned that there is more you can do with a paralegal degree other than just working in a law office.”

Want to investigate your future at MSB-Rochester as a criminal justice or paralegal student? Contact Megan, paralegal program chair, at 507 536-9500.


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