Yaakov Neeman was born in Tel Aviv in 1939. Following army service, he studied law (LL.B.) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1961-64). He went on to complete his LL.M. and J.S.D. (Doctor of Law, Hons. - 1968) at the New York University Law School. He has been a member of the Israeli Bar Association since 1966.
Neeman has been a senior partner of Herzog Fox & Neeman, Advocates since 1972, with a brief two-year interruption. He has served as visiting professor of law at the University of California in Los Angeles (1976), Tel Aviv University (1977-79), New York University (1989-90), and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1990, 1994). He served as Director General of the Ministry of Finance from 1979-1981.
Yaakov Neeman has served on a number of public committees, among them: the Tax Reform Committee (1972-74); the Public Commission of Inquiry into the Structure of Local Government in Israel (1977-78); and the Investigation Committee of the Temple Mount Affair (1991). He has served, among others, as chairman of the Committee of Inquiry into the Inter-Relation between the Tax Laws and Foreign Currency Restrictions (1977-78) and the Public Committee on the Allocation of Distributions by the Ministry of Interior (1991-92).
He has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Bank of Israel (1977-79 and 1992-present) and is a member of the Central Committee of the World Bank.
He is the author or editor of seven books and over 30 articles in the fields of taxation, corporation and securities law, published both in Israel and abroad.
Yaakov Neeman served as Minister of Justice from June-August 1996. In July 1997 he was appointed Minister of Finance, a position he held until 1999.
In 2009, with the re-election of Benjamin Netanyahu to lead Israel's government, Neeman returned to politics and was appointed as Minister of Justice. He held the position until 2013.
He is married and has six children.