Firms queue up as USAID hands out Iraq contracts

US law firms are set to gain millions in fees from the rush of development work in Iraq. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has already begun handing out contracts to development companies

There are eight USAID contracts up for grabs, which only a small number of companies have been invited to tender for. The first round of projects is worth around $900m (£571.9m).

San Francisco's Bechtel, which was involved in reconstruction after the last Gulf War, is understood to have been asked to tender. In the past, the company has had a strong relationship with Thelen Reid & Priest, although it is understood that Bechtel has also employed Shearman & Sterling and Hogan & Hartson on past deals.

Fluor Daniel is believed to be another of the lucky few that have been invited to tender, meaning that Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, which has acted for the company, could be in line for a deluge of work.

So far just one reconstruction project has been awarded, despite the US still being in the throes of its war with Iraq. Stevedoring Services of America has won a $4.8m (£3m) contract to assess and manage the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. It is not yet clear whether the company sought external advice on the deal.