Professor Pitman Potter joined the Faculty in 1990. He is currently the Director of Chinese Legal Studies. Professor Potter held the position of HSBC Chair in Asian Research at the Institute of Asian Research at UBC, where he was also the Director from 1999 to 2008. Professor Potter was appointed Senior Fellow at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in 2009. In 2015, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Professor Potter received a BA in Chinese Studies (History) from George Washington University in 1978. He went on to obtain an MA in Political Science (1980), a JD (1985), and a PhD (with distinction) in Political Science (1986) at the University of Washington. In 2008, Professor Potter completed an MDiv at the Vancouver School of Theology. Professor Potter has been admitted to the bar in British Columbia, Washington, and California.
As an expert in Chinese law, Professor Potter’s research and practice focuses on business law and human rights matters regarding the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan. This includes legal and policy research into the areas of foreign trade and investment, intellectual property, dispute resolution, property law, contracts, and business regulation involving China. Professor Potter's significant contributions to this field have led to legal reform in the areas of human rights and trade policy. Professor Potter had been recognized as an accomplished researcher through appointment as a Kenneth Robinson Fellow at Hong Kong University (2003) and by receiving various awards such as the Distinguished Alumni Scholar Award from George Washington University (2003), the UBC Distinguished University Scholar Award (2003), and a Killam Research Prize. Furthermore, in 2008, Professor Potter was the recipient of the Alumni Award for Research awarded by Allard Law Alumni Association. This award is given to an individual, whom may not be an alumna/alumnus of the law school, but has advanced the Allard School of Law's reputation as a leading research institution through their research achievements.
Additionally, Professor Potter worked as a Chinese business law consultant for Borden Ladner Gervais LLP from 1995 to 2017. As a Chartered Arbitrator, Professor Potter also practiced arbitration in the context of international trade involving China. Professor Potter has extensive published works, including the books The Legal System of the People’s Republic of China (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2013) and Assessing Treaty Performance in China: Trade and Human Rights (Vancouver and Toronto: UBC Press, 2014).