Why knowledge management is crucial for legal and compliance teams in Switzerland

And how technology can help

Philipp Rosenauer
Head NewLaw, PwC Switzerland 

Katharina Otto
Head of Tax and Legal Knowledge Management, PwC Switzerland

Attention legal and compliance departments in Switzerland! Are you looking for ways to improve your efficiency? Look no further than knowledge management (KM). This crucial practice allows you to capture, store and share important information within your organisation – saving time, reducing errors and improving internal and external stakeholder service. And with the help of technology solutions such as document management systems and artificial intelligence tools, managing information has never been easier or more effective. In this blog post, we’ll explore why knowledge management is essential for Swiss legal and compliance teams – and show you how technology can take your KM efforts to the next level. Read on to learn more!

Introduction to knowledge management in legal departments

Knowledge management (KM) is the collection of methods relating to creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organisation.[1] It refers to a multidisciplinary approach to achieve organisational objectives by making the best use of knowledge.[2]

In a rapidly globalising and ever-changing legal technology landscape, legal teams in Switzerland must increasingly rely on knowledge management to adapt properly to the changing environment and the challenges it brings for the legal work. It’s crucial for legal and compliance departments because it helps them to optimise compliance workflows, improve communication and collaboration between staff and ultimately provide better service as well as decision-making support.

While knowledge management has traditionally been seen as a paper-based process, technology can play a key role in making it more efficient and effective. For example, document management systems can help to capture and organise knowledge assets such as files, research materials and expert opinions. With this information it’s easy to avoid re-inventing the wheel and to create helpful knowledge assets by extracting the data and putting it into context.

Intranets and extranets can facilitate communication and collaboration between stakeholders, while also providing a central repository for knowledge assets. And social media tools can be used to create virtual communities of practice where the teams can share best practices, seek advice from peers and collaborate on projects.

By leveraging technology to support knowledge management initiatives, legal teams in Switzerland can gain a significant advantage in today’s marketplace.

Nevertheless, knowledge management and technology are individually valuable entities, but they can only operate and function successfully together. One without the other leads to chaos and employee frustration resulting in bad to no adoption and acceptance of new processes and tools, which means a waste of company resources.


[1] Girard, John P.; Girard, JoAnn L. (2015). Defining knowledge management: toward an applied compendium. Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management. 3 (1): 14.

[2] Introduction to knowledge management. www.unc.edu. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Archived from the original on 19 March 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2014.

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Benefits of knowledge management for legal teams in Switzerland

There are many benefits of implementing a knowledge management framework and system within a legal and compliance team in Switzerland. Perhaps most importantly, it can help to improve the quality of services that are provided. In addition, it can also lead to increased efficiency and productivity within the firm, as well as reduced costs.

A knowledge management system can help lawyers and other staff to keep track of important information and documents, which can be accessed quickly and easily when needed. This can save a lot of time when working on complex cases. In addition, having all relevant information in one place can help to prevent errors and omissions.

Another benefit of knowledge management is that it can help lawyers to share their expertise with other members of the team and the firm more easily. This can lead to better communication and collaboration within the firm, as well as improved service and decision-making. Additionally, it can make training new lawyers and team members easier, because the onboarding process is faster.

Technology plays an important role in knowledge management, providing the tools for storing, retrieving and sharing information effectively to finally make the right and informed decisions. There are a number of different types of software available, so it’s important to choose one that’s suitable for the specific needs of the legal and compliance team.

Challenges of applying knowledge management in legal teams

While knowledge management is crucial for legal teams in Switzerland, there are some challenges that need to be considered when applying it. One challenge is the fact that legal teams are often reluctant to change their processes and procedures, which can make implementing new knowledge management frameworks difficult. Therefore, it’s important that a good change management approach is worked out beforehand and knowledge management is incorporated into the existing processes. It’s important to note that it isn’t taken up as an additional administrative expense but as strategic support and improvement of the work-relevant processes. After all, knowledge management should simplify life, not make it more difficult.

Another important aspect here is proper communication. The benefits must be understandable and in line with the companies and/or teams’ goals.

Additionally, legal departments tend to have a lot of data and information that needs to be organised and stored, which can be a challenge for knowledge management systems. Especially in the field of law, deadlines, retention requirements, related subject areas, and other legal keywords and aspects need to be implemented in the search function and information governance.

In Switzerland, there are a total of four different languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh). In addition, there’s also English. The number of languages has of course a great influence on the functionalities of a corresponding knowledge management tool.  

Finally, another challenge with applying knowledge management in legal teams is the need to ensure that all employees have access to the same information and tools. This can be difficult to achieve if different departments or lawyers use different software or applications. But this isn’t the only obstacle; due to confidentiality clauses it’s difficult to grant access to everyone. An anonymisation tool based on artificial intelligence can remedy this. 

Technology solutions for knowledge management

Technology solutions for knowledge management are vital for legal teams in Switzerland. The country’s legal system is very complex (federal law and legislation from 26 cantons), and lawyers need to be able to access a wealth of information quickly and easily. Technology can help manage their knowledge base effectively, making it easier for lawyers to find the information they need and add context to the case at hand. Additionally, it saves time and money and provides security that the information at hand is correct and up to date.

There are a number of different technology solutions available that can help manage the information effectively. One option is a knowledge management system, which can be used to store and organise information. Knowledge management systems (KMS) can be customised to meet the specific needs of a legal and compliance team, and they offer a number of features such as dashboards, deadline and risk trackers, that can make it easier to manage information and risk processes.

Another option is an intranet portal, which can provide access to a variety of resources, including an internal search engine and document library. Intranet portals can also be used to share news and announcements internally, and they can be customised to meet the unique needs of a legal team. With a corresponding expert search, the right contacts can be linked to bring together the best qualifications, and duplication of content is limited. 

Four examples of innovative legal technology solutions

Innovative legal technology solutions are crucial for legal teams in Switzerland for a number of reasons. First, they can help lawyers to be more efficient and effective in their work. Second, they can help teams to save money on their overhead costs. Third, they can help legal departments to improve their service. Fourth, they can help to better manage risk.

Some examples of innovative legal technology solutions:

  1. Document management systems: A document management system (DMS) is a computer program that helps lawyers to manage their documents more effectively. It can be used to store, organise, reuse and share documents electronically.
  2. Time tracking systems: A time tracking system is a software application that helps lawyers to track their time spent on each case. This information can then be used to generate invoices for clients or for budgeting purposes and can help to improve the billing accuracy and save time on administrative tasks.
  3. Regulatory monitoring system: A regulatory monitoring system (e.g. local and international legislation and court decisions) can make sure that the team stays up to speed on the latest developments, which minimises manual research tremendously.
  4. Text modules and template generator: A software that’s based on artificial intelligence, extracting text from structured and unstructured data and combining it into reusable content, saves time when drafting contracts and other legal documentation.

Technology plays an important role in knowledge management, providing the tools for storing, retrieving and sharing information effectively to finally make the right and informed decisions.

Concrete steps for implementing knowledge management

The following steps should be executed to successfully implement knowledge management for legal and compliance teams:

Step 1: Assess your current knowledge management practices

Begin by evaluating your legal department’s existing knowledge management processes and tools. Determine what’s working well and identify any gaps or inefficiencies. This assessment will provide a solid foundation for developing a comprehensive knowledge management strategy.

Step 2: Develop a knowledge management strategy

Implementing knowledge management without a well-defined strategy can lead to disorganisation and confusion. To avoid this pitfall, develop a comprehensive knowledge management strategy that aligns with your organisation’s goals and objectives. This strategy should consider the following elements:

  • Types of knowledge to be managed (e.g. legal research, contract templates, case law)
  • Knowledge management tools and technology
  • Roles and responsibilities for managing and updating knowledge resources
  • Processes for identifying, capturing, storing, and sharing knowledge
  • Metrics for evaluating the success of your knowledge management efforts

Step 3: Establish a knowledge management team

Assemble a dedicated team responsible for overseeing the implementation and maintenance of your knowledge management strategy. This team should include representatives from different areas of your legal department to ensure a diverse and comprehensive perspective. The team should consist of younger and older employees, as well as managers who can communicate the added value well to the numerous teams and stakeholders.

Step 4: Implement knowledge management tools and technology

Invest in knowledge management tools and technology that support your strategy. These may include document management systems, intranets, or collaboration platforms. When selecting tools, consider how AI can be integrated to enhance your knowledge management efforts. For example, AI-powered search engines can help legal professionals find relevant documents and case law more efficiently, while AI-driven contract analysis tools can quickly identify and categorise contract clauses.

Knowledge management systems that are difficult to use or don’t meet the needs of users can hinder adoption and ultimately limit the success of your knowledge management efforts. Involve end-users in the selection and design of knowledge management tools to ensure they are user friendly and meet the needs of your organisation. Furthermore, these tools should be able to be connected with each other; the best and/or highly technical tools that cause siloisation are an absolute hindrance to the successful implementation of the knowledge management strategy.

Step 5: Capture and organise information

The effectiveness of knowledge management relies on the quality and consistency of the data being captured and shared. Develop processes for capturing and organising your legal department’s information resources. This may involve creating templates for standard legal documents, compiling case law summaries, or cataloguing legal research. Ensure that your knowledge resources are easily accessible and searchable to maximise their value for your team.

Create an information management strategy that explicitly addresses the handling and storage of all information held in the organisation. This includes an archiving policy, both to comply with legal requirements and to ensure that outdated information is removed from the data set. For example, a suitable storage mask can help employees to store information in the right places, use the right keywords and thus avoid a proliferation of documents. In addition, duplications can be avoided.

Step 6: Encourage knowledge sharing and collaboration

Knowledge management relies on employees actively sharing their knowledge and expertise. Promote a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration within your legal department. Encourage team members to contribute to knowledge repositories, share insights and collaborate on projects. This can be facilitated by implementing collaborative tools, such as shared document libraries or communication platforms.

Our experience shows that when it’s easy to share knowledge, be it through communities of practice, workshops, appropriate platforms and software, employees are then happy to share and impart their knowledge to colleagues. The existing infrastructure helps, but leaders and management also have the important task of encouraging and supporting collaborative working. If the added value is understood by all those involved, it should be clear by then at the latest, that it’s a win-win situation for everyone, and nothing stands in the way of a successful implementation of the knowledge management strategy. But until this is achieved, it can sometimes be a long road that’s well worth the effort.

Step 7: Train and support your team

Employees may struggle to adopt new knowledge management processes and tools if they don’t receive adequate training and support. Provide training and support to help your team effectively use your knowledge management tools, processes and resources. This may include conducting workshops, offering one-on-one support, or providing access to online training materials.

Step 8: Monitor and evaluate your knowledge management efforts

Continuously monitor and evaluate the success of your knowledge management efforts. Track key performance indicators, such as time saved, reduced duplication of effort or increased collaboration, to assess the impact of your initiatives. Use this information to refine your strategy and identify areas for improvement.

The benchmarking of a knowledge management strategy depends entirely on the respective processes and what knowledge is available, created and used. Depending on the case, there are a variety of methods to measure the success or failure of the strategy and to make changes to correct the course.


Legal is a highly technical function with a broad responsibility for managing risk and advising the company strategically on achieving its revenue growth goals, and it’s changing fast.

A strategic approach with knowledge management can help improve the performance of the legal function by deploying people, processes, and technology strategically.

Knowledge management is an essential management strategy for legal and compliance teams in Switzerland. Technology can significantly enhance processes and ensure data accuracy, consistency, and security whilst the knowledge management strategy helps to support the decision-making processes and how to capture critical knowledge. By using a digital approach to managing knowledge assets, legal departments can increase their productivity and reduce costs while also improving the quality of their services. With the right tools and strategies in place, Swiss legal and compliance teams will be able to stay ahead of the game.


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