Sally Harpole is a full-time independent arbitrator and mediator for complex international disputes.

Starting in 1977, Sally advised and represented companies in most major industry sectors relating to their projects in China. She has extensive experience in foreign investment, trade and dispute resolution matters involving China, including joint venture, merger and acquisition, shareholder and corporation matters, technology transfer and licensing, infrastructure projects, manufacturing, sales and distribution, import/export trade matters, natural resources, energy, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, textiles, real estate, entertainment (including film, television & live entertainment), advertising, sports, hotel management and other areas.

As an attorney qualified in California and Hong Kong, Sally led the China practices of multinational law firms in Beijing and Hong Kong for 23 years. In 2001, she established her own solicitor firm in Hong Kong. After 36 years in Greater China (Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei), Sally relocated to San Francisco where she continues her work as arbitrator and mediator specializing in Asia-related dispute resolution.

International Arbitrator and Mediator

Sally Harpole has been appointed as arbitrator and/or mediator in over 120 international commercial cases in Asia, Europe and North America. She was one of the first non-Chinese nationals to be appointed to the CIETAC Arbitrators Panel in 1989.

Sally Harpole is an accredited arbitrator listed on the panels of the following institutions

  • Beijing Arbitration Commission (BAC)
  • Chinese Arbitration Association, Taipei (CAA)
  • China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC)
  • CPR Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, New York, New York
  • Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC)
  • ICDR – American Arbitration Association (AAA), New York, New York
  • Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (JCAA)
  • Korean Commercial Arbitration Board (KCAB)
  • Asian International Arbitration Centre (AIAC)
  • Shanghai Arbitration Commission
  • Shanghai International Arbitration Center (SHIAC)
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)

In addition, she has been appointed repeatedly as arbitrator by the following arbitral institutions which do not maintain formal arbitrator panels

  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration
  • Stockholm Chamber of Commerce Arbitration Institute (SCC)

Experience as International Mediator

Sally Harpole has acted as mediator for international commercial disputes in Beijing and Hong Kong. She also has advised clients on such mediations. Her experience includes the combination of conciliation with arbitration. While resident in Hong Kong, she served on the HKIAC Mediator Accreditation Committee.

Law Professor and Lecturer

Sally Harpole is an Adjunct Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, California.

Sally served as a Visiting Professor and Senior Fellow of Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University Law School (Asian Study Tour 2003-2010), where she designed a comparative law program introducing the legal systems of Hong Kong and Mainland China.

In 2010, Sally was invited to deliver the annual Clayton Utz International Lecture. Her presentation focused on the role of language in Asia based arbitration.

In addition, Sally Harpole has lectured at several universities on the subjects of dispute resolution and international law, including

  • Beijing University of International Trade and Economics (formerly, Beijing Foreign Trade Institute)
  • Chinese University (Hong Kong)
  • City University (Hong Kong)
  • Dalian Institute of Technology
  • Guangzhou Institute of Foreign Trade
  • Hong Kong University
  • Kobe University (Japan)
  • Nankai University (Tianjin, China)
  • Nanjing University (Nanjing, China)
  • Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade
  • University of Buenos Aires

Sally often serves as a judge and coach for the Willem Vis International Arbitration Moot law student competition. She has judged the final round of this competition in both the Vienna and Hong Kong venues.

Conference Speaker

Ms. Sally Harpole is a frequent chairman, organizer and speaker of conferences on dispute resolution and the legal aspects of doing business in China and greater Asia. In these capacities, she has been featured in events sponsored and organized by

  • American Arbitration Association / ICDR
  • American Bar Association
  • American Chamber of Commerce
  • Asia Law & Practice
  • Beijing Arbitration Commission
  • California Lawyers Association (CLA)
  • Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
  • China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission
  • Club Español de Arbitraje
  • College of Commercial Arbitrators
  • CPR
  • DIS (German Arbitration Institute)
  • Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
  • The Hong Kong Law Society and The Hong Kong Bar Association
  • International Bar Association
  • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration
  • ICCA
  • Inter-Pacific Bar Association
  • Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA)
  • Kuala Lumpur Regional Center for Arbitration
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Practicing Law Institute (PLI)
  • Singapore International Arbitration Centre
  • Stockholm Chamber of Commerce
  • University of Buenos Aires
  • Vietnam Ministry of Justice


Sally Harpole has published numerous articles and book chapters on the subjects of direct investment, dispute resolution and other law topics relating to Hong Kong and Mainland China, which appeared in the ICC arbitration journal, the China Business Review, the Wall Street Journal,
The Asian Leading Arbitrators’ Guide to International Arbitration, China Business Disputes, Dispute Resolution International and Contemporary Asia Arbitration Journal. In addition, she writes the chapter on Hong Kong and Mainland China in the updated loose-leaf series, “International Commercial Arbitration in the 21st Century” (Lexis-Nexis).

From 1992 to 2003, she was General Editor and Special Editor of the CCH China Business Law Guide. She has also served on the Board of Editors of World Arbitration and Mediation Review.

Academic Degrees

  • University of California, Berkeley, California – A.B. Degree (honors, Phi Beta Kappa)
  • University of Washington, Seattle, Washington – Juris Doctor Degree (Asian Law Program, Moot Court Honors)
  • Harvard Law School Program for Instruction of Lawyers – Mediation Certificate
  • Straus Institute Advanced Mediation Training Certificate
  • Chinese Law Certificate, University of East Asia, Macau


Sally is a native speaker of English and is fluent in Chinese and Spanish. She reads French fluently.