pettifogger

A sneaky, underhanded lawyer is a pettifogger. If your neighbor hires an unscrupulous quack to sue you, you might call his attorney a pettifogger.

You don't hear the word pettifogger much these days, since the word is fairly archaic, but you might come across it in an old book. A bad lawyer, or pettifogger, used dubious means to get clients and to win cases. The mid-16th century word itself combined petty — "small," from the French petit — with the obsolete word fogger, "underhanded dealer," which probably came from a wealthy 15th century Bavarian family of merchants, the Fuggers.

Definitions of pettifogger
  1. noun
    a disputant who quibbles; someone who raises annoying petty objections
    synonyms: caviler, caviller, quibbler
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    type of:
    malcontent
    a person who is discontented or disgusted
  2. noun
    a person (especially a lawyer or politician) who uses unscrupulous or unethical methods
    synonyms: shyster
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    type of:
    offender, wrongdoer
    a person who transgresses moral or civil law
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