Paul J. Heald is an American novelist and law professor, best known for his murder mysteries and his empirical studies of the public domain. His fiction is published by Skyhorse Publishing, and he is currently the Richard W. & Marie L. Corman Research Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law.
Heald was born in Evanston, Illinois, to Jame E. Heald, a professor, and Phyllis A. Heald (née Kosir), a homemaker. He has one sister, Laura Filuta (born 1960). He was valedictorian of DeKalb High School in 1977, two years after National Book Award winner Richard Powers (1975) and seven years before super-model Cindy Crawford (1984) received the same honor from the same school. He attended the University of Illinois as a Comparative Literature major and was a varsity epée fencer on two Big Ten championship teams, placing 4th in the Conference and 18th in the nation at the 1981 NCAA fencing finals.
After college, Heald taught English at Florida A & M University, a historically African-American institution, and attended law school at the University of Chicago.