Herbert F. Goodrich earned his bachelor's degree from Carleton College in 1911, and his law degree from Harvard in 1914. He joined the faculty at University of Iowa College of Law in 1914, and served as acting dean from 1921 to 1922. As a professor, he helped reestablish the Iowa Law Bulletin (later the Iowa Law Review) and served as its Editor-in-Charge.
After leaving Iowa, he taught law at University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania, where he also served as dean from 1929 to 1940. In 1940, he was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. During his time on the bench, he also became Director of the American Law Institute. He died in 1962.