Arthur Piper arrived in Australia with his Bible Christian minister father in 1870. Following his education at Princes, Piper undertook legal studies at Adelaide University and was admitted to the Bar in 1886. In 1892 he joined Symon, Bakewell, Stow and Piper, forerunner of the present-day firm of Piper Alderman.
Piper was made a King’s Counsel in 1911 and offered a position on the Supreme Court Bench in 1917, a position he declined on account of two of his sons (who both became judges) entering the legal profession. He was elevated to the Bench in 1927 and was respected for his ability to handle any case that came before him.
He was involved in the process that led to the Federation of Australia and attended the 1901 inauguration ceremony in Melbourne. His community life included service as Grand Master of the Freemasons, President of the Royal Geographical Society (meeting explorers Amundsen and Mawson), President of the Norwood Football Club, President of the PAOCA and a member of the College Council.