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"A 'petty Fugger' would mean one who on a small scale practices the dishonourable devices for gain popularly attributed to great financiers; it seems possible that the phrase 'petty fogger of the law,' applied in this sense to some notorious person, may have caught the popular fancy." [O.E.D. first edition, in a rare burst of pure speculation]However, cf. pettifactor "legal agent who undertakes small cases" (1586), which, though attested slightly later, may be the source of this.