Chromosomes have a complex three-dimensional (3D) architecture comprising A/B compartments, topologically associating domains and promoter-enhancer interactions. At all these levels, the 3D genome has functional consequences for gene transcription and therefore for cellular identity. The development and activation of lymphocytes involves strict control of gene expression by transcription factors (TFs) operating in a three-dimensionally organized chromatin landscape. As lymphocytes are indispensable for tissue homeostasis and pathogen defense, and aberrant lymphocyte activity is involved in a wide range of human morbidities, acquiring an in-depth understanding of the molecular mechanisms that control lymphocyte identity is highly relevant. Here we review current knowledge of the interplay between 3D genome organization and transcriptional control during B and T lymphocyte development and antigen-dependent activation, placing special emphasis on the role of TFs.