The departing dean of the University of Melbourne's Law School, Professor James Hathaway, was at the centre of an ugly stoush over the implementation of the university's controversial Melbourne Model just weeks before his resignation last Wednesday.

A damning series of internal documents, obtained by Crikey, reveals widespread anger from within the elite faculty over changes that would have seen up to four professional staff sacked and replaced with three senior bureaucrats, leading to a budget blowout and a "pyramid-like professional staff structure".