Cecilia Mendes: In Memoriam

Legal Area: Corporate Law

She never went unnoticed, even when she was not able to attend Pragma’s board meetings.  Her life has always been the result of strong and firm convictions. Her father, a doctor in England, taught her how to be an independent woman, professional and willing to go the extra mile to fight for her ideas. When we met in 1989, at the age of 32, she had already been capable of setting up a law firm by herself in Portugal dealing with international clients in a country that had still not signed the agreement to adhere to the European Union. The previous year, falling from her horse let her barely without a voice, the most important tool of a lawyer. However, her resilience and energy led her to pursue a long, successful and challenging career, of which we have all been witnesses.

Thanks to Jean Claude Coulon et asssociées   and sharing a common client we had the opportunity to meet and work with Gilberto, Jean François, Cecilia and myself, time where we set the basis for Pragma’s network foundation in the year 2000. We were all young and enthusiastic and together we started the great adventure of the creation of an international network of law firms in a world dominated by Anglo-American firms. We were committed to keep the roman and continental law as the references of our DNA. Cecilia committed herself in depth to the project and without a doubt we owe her a large share of Pragma’s success due to her recruiting efforts worldwide.

Despite the smaller scale of her country, she managed to be at the forefront of Pragma’s network and work with the stronger firms of the larger countries. Her example of work ethics, rigor, loyalty and determination has always impressed me and helped at the same time to push my boundaries. I firmly believe we all have to capitalize on these virtues to be better professionals and people.  Thanks to the aforementioned virtues, her opinions have always been respected and listened to in Pragma’s board meetings. She managed to transmit a deep sense of friendship to all her colleagues of the network and at the same time keep her criteria untouched.

Cecilia we loved you, we love you and we will miss you in the days to come.  Thank you very much for the time we shared all together and for your great contribution to this wonderful group of people called Pragma.

You will always remain in our hearts. 
Carlos Manubens


I'm heartbroken.. to me she has been an incredible host, an amazing guide in Pragma's adventure, a woman who made the union between different nationalities special thanks to her "crazy" energy, but most of all, she has been a wonderful friend... I can't do anything but crying for this shocking event.. the world isn't gonna be the same without you, Cecilia ...

A huge hug. Cristina Schiatti

Chers amis – j’etais desolee d’entendre les tristes nouvelles du deces de Cecilia. 
Elle etait une femme formidable. 
Une perte pour Pragma et pour tous qui l’ont connaissait.

Greg Wolton  
Consultant and Solicitor 


C'est une bien triste nouvelle et inattendue. Nous savions Cecilia malade mais je n'imaginais pas le 30 mai dernier lorsque nous nous sommes vus à Paris qu'il s'agissait de notre dernière rencontre.

Cécilia c'est plus de 25 ans d'amitié construites année après année, c'est l'un des 4 piliers de la fondation de PRAGMA.  
Nous connaissons tous la dimension humaniste de Cécilia et sa disparition va créer un vide chez chacun de nous. 
Nous avons tous dans nos cœurs des souvenirs et des marques d'amitié qu'elle savait nous témoigner.

C'est un jour bien triste. 
Je vous embrasse. 


This is a very sad piece of news indeed.

We are very sorry – as we knew Cecilia very well, we appreciate her professionalism (but also her true qualities as an optimistic and pleasant personality), we had certain activities in common. I am still remembering her walking with me and other colleagues on the streets of Bucharest and Prague….

God bless her!

We cherish her memory…… 
Romeo Nicolescu and colleagues





That is terrible news.

I cannot believe that someone with such energy and vivacity is no longer with us. 
I know that she loved life and it is very sad that it has been taken away from her so early. 
I went to stay with her in Cascais, and I have lots of happy memories of the time I spent with her.

Kind regards 
Stephanie Thomas | Partner 
Head of International Law 
For and on behalf of Bishop and Sewell LLP

We are deeply sorry to hear such a sad news. 
Please pass our heartfelt condolences to her family. 
She will surely be missed by Pragma community.

Assostudio – Cacciavillan, Romito

Sono senza parole e sinceramente dispiaciuta..  
Non ci resta che ricordarla nelle preghiere e ricordare che la vita é un dono limitato nel tempo. 

Ti abbraccio (dal Sud Africa). 

More than twenty years have passed from the moment we met for the first time.

During this time we built an extraordinary story through Pragma.

Every time I needed you, you were always there to help me.

I shall never forget your enthusiasm, your elegance, your charm and your friendship.

Many images passed through my mind in this last month, a period where every day I had flash images about you and about the time we spent together. But that one moment I will never forget because is the most empathic one. It was when you came up to Monza for the Grand Prix. I had arranged access for the entrance to the Autodromo, the race-track, on two bicycles but you did not know how to ride it. So from my home, with you sitting on my handlebar and laughing together, we rode down through the street of Monza until the racing track!

Cecilia, I hope to meet you again somewhere where you are, above the clouds and the skies to ride with you again on a bike! God will laugh about it (and I will do so too).

In the meantime however, from wherever you are, do still keep an eye to all of us down here in Pragma and let us have your support ant criticism.

Goodbye, dear Cecilia. 
Your Friend Gilberto

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