During the 1920s and 30s, the American Bar Association recognized the need for special assistance to the poor by creating a committee on legal aid. State and local bar associations worked over the following decades to promote legal aid societies to offer free legal services to the poor. Early legal services supporters accepted that the pledge of "Equal Justice Under the Law" cannot be realized as long as people with limited resources do not have access to the justice system. In the mid-1960s and 70s, legal aid societies were formed in Topeka, Wichita and Kansas City. From the 1960s until 1974, the three Kansas legal aid societies ran under the authority of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Office of Legal Services. Power for the legal services program was transferred to the newly formed Legal Services Corporation during 1975. Through all of these changes in administrative authority and funding, the Kansas legal aid societies continued to supply free legal services to the poor in Kansas.
In 1977, the Kansas City, Topeka and Wichita legal aid societies merged to form Kansas Legal Services, Inc. Kansas Legal Services now has eleven legal services and two mediation services offices located across the state. It also maintains a wide retainer contract system with assistance from members of the Kansas Bar Association.