Look to the future: Trainees take on 2019
The trainees didn't fare too badly with their 2018 predictions. They doubted England's ability to make it past the group stages of the World Cup, but foresaw how Brexit would dominate the news agenda. They over-optimistically predicted the introduction of automated bundling, but came very close on the value of Bitcoin. Read on to see this year's predictions.
The country appears as divided as ever, with 54% of our trainees predicting another referendum in 2018. One particularly cheerful contributor suggests that we will be stuck in an endless cycle of voting on Brexit forever.
As if that wasn't enough excitement, trainees almost unanimously predict that 2019 will see the UK's largest protests yet. Perhaps reassuringly, they think the crowds will hold off until it is a little less chilly out.
The trainees seem almost as unsure of Theresa May's future as her own party. One trainee predicted that she will be gone by the time that this article was published (and indeed, she has faced a vote of no confidence). Another predicts that she will make it to 2019 and then disappear, ready for a Gary Barlow-like comeback in 2030. What the trainees haven't mentioned is whether any of the Cabinet Members will ditch the band and go solo (Robbie Williams-style), reaching the top job as Prime Minister.
US politics was always going to bring up some interesting predictions. Debate erupted amongst the trainees over who would be chosen as the Democratic challenger for the next presidential election. The favourite was Beto O'Rourke, although there was a vocal minority betting on Kim Kardashian. One trainee picked a more leftfield candidate saying: "I wonder if maybe Jordan Peele doing his impression of Obama could run?"
Will a seat become vacant on the US Supreme Court? According to the trainees, almost certainly not. However, this question did prompt concern over the health of the iconic Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was recently released from hospital following surgery to remove cancerous growths from her lung.
As for whether President Trump and Kim Jong-un will meet again, the jury is out. We have some trainees predicting that there is no chance of that happening and some trainees being sure they will meet again. This will be one to watch in 2019.
Legal and Business:
RPC trainees are fairly unanimous in their view that the FCA will not start to regulate cryptocurrencies in 2019. It is hard to say whether this reflects a vast well of insider knowledge, or just a general belief that the crypto bubble has burst, but the consensus is very much that the UK will maintain its 'watch and wait' approach to crypto assets in 2019. RPC's self-appointed (and self-admittedly vastly underqualified) Trainee CryptoRep forecasts more crypto fraud-related litigation, despite the lack of further regulation.
The various economic Nostradamuses (Nostradami?) at RPC are reasonably sanguine about the value of the pound over the coming year, with only the most pessimistic believing it will fall below €1. The trainees are cautiously optimistic about the economic outlook in general, although most feel that if there is a no deal Brexit, there will be serious consequences.
The RPC trainees were also canvassed on who would replace Lord Sumption on the Supreme Court, in spite of the fact that Sales LJ had been announced as his replacement in June 2018. Was this a devilishly clever trick question designed to test the RPC trainees' awareness of contemporary judicial appointments, or had the trainee who asked the question just failed to do even the most cursory research? It is hard to say. Either way, only one trainee hit the nail on the head and most responded with tongue in cheek suggestions featuring some of their favourite (and presumably not so favourite) Lords from the worlds of film and television, including Lords Sugar and Voldemort.
Driverless cars continue to be a topic of conversation, with almost all of the trainees predicting that there will be an increase in driverless cars on the roads alongside our current manuals by the end of the year (though not necessarily in Europe). Good news for those of us who still have a green licence! Though testing has been carried out on public roads, there are currently only a small number of places across the world where consumers can 'drive' the automated machines.
Turning to other modes of transport, the trainees shared mixed predictions (and opinions!) on whether the ban on electric scooters in London would be lifted. One trainee is hopeful for the introduction of 'Uber Scooters'.
Elsewhere, in the world of social media almost all trainees predicted that the number of active Facebook users would drop in 2019. However, we're sure that Facebook will continue to exist as a prime social platform given that most trainees predicted that there will be at least 2 billion active users. That is over one quarter of the world's population! It will be a year to watch for Facebook, as it diversifies to cover products such as 'Portal', a voice enabled video calling system.
'Meghan mania' looks set to continue in 2019 with Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex expecting their first child. Predictions on potential names were varied, with only Alexander/Alexandra being suggested twice. Honourable mentions must also go to Hegan, Baby Shark, Chardonnay, and Sparkle.
Millennials' dreams came true when the Spice Girls announced another reunion tour (minus Posh Spice). With 'girl power' back in the air, the trainees have predicted some other comebacks for 2019. If we are correct, then you should expect to see Destiny's Child, Blue, One Direction, and Oasis all dropping new albums and announcing tours over the next 12 months.
Finally, as social media influencers continue to impact brands, we asked the trainees to predict the most popular Instagram hashtag for 2019. Of course, #LifeInALawFirm and #RPC both made the list. Some of the conscientious lawyers amongst us also predicted #ad, in order to stay on the right side of the ASA. However, the more likely option of #selfie was the most popular choice… #LetMeTakeASelfie
The trainees are far more optimistic about the England women's chances of winning the World Cup, than they were of the men's last year, with all but one trainee predicting that captain Steph Houghton would lead England to the semi-finals. A few trainees have even forecast that Phil Neville will 'bring it home' and one trainee believes that the 'Reggae Girlz' , Jamaica's team, will win.
The trainees are not so hopeful for the England men's rugby team this autumn in Tokyo, as England have only been chosen to win by one trainee. The majority of predictions have been safe bets as New Zealand rank as the clear favourite amongst the trainees.
Finally, on the cynical question of how many Premier League, English Football league, National League and Scottish Premiership managers will be sacked in 2019, there has been a broad range of answers from 4 to 80 with a certain trainee already correctly predicting that Jose Mourinho would receive his P45.