The son of Italian immigrants, Iacobucci was born in Vancouver, where he attended Britannia Secondary School. He received a B.Comm. and LL.B. from the University of British Columbia and an LL.M. from Cambridge University. Iacobucci practised corporate law in New York and then served as a professor at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law from 1967 until 1982 as well as Dean of the law faculty from 1979 until 1982. He also served as Vice-President and Provost of the university from 1983 to 1985. He entered the public service as Deputy Minister of Justice in the federal government from 1985 to 1988 when he was appointed to the Chief Justice of the Federal Court. In 1991, Justice Iacobucci was appointed as Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada by Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney and served in this capacity until retiring in 2004.