Are you involved in any organizations? If so, which ones and how do you balance organization membership and your class work?
The two biggest organizations here are SBA and PAD, here's a quick rundown of each:
Student Bar Association is probably the biggest one at the school. They rent out lockers in the locker room and also put on the major social events of the year (Halloween party and Barrister's Ball in the spring). SBA members are elected in school-wide elections in the spring and I think they are on the main council for basically the calendar year. SBA also throws a big back-to-school bash (Benchmark) and helps with a big fundraising auction for the public interest fund, and they run a year-round book exchange (definitely check this out before you buy your books).
Phi Alpha Delta is a nationwide law fraternity that is pretty big at UTK. They also put on a couple of events every semester and sponsor a mock trial team that competes every year in Washington, D.C. (the only mock trial team you can get on as a 1L by the way). They have a pretty high participation rate at the school and their social events are a lot of fun (last year they did a boat cruise in Knoxville and a trip to the horse track in Kentucky; this year they are doing a bar crawl).
There are also a bunch of other similar organizations (most of which are self-explanatory):
Black Law Students Association
Asian Law Students Association
ENLACE (Latino Law Students Association)
SELS (Sports and Entertainment Law Society)
BTLA (Business and Tax Law Association)
Immigration Law Society
Environmental Law Association
International Law Society
Lambda Law (Gay-Straight Alliance)
TACDL (Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers)
Pro Bono (includes a ton of opportunities to volunteer for things like Saturday Bar, Habitat for Humanity, and CASA)
Law Student Ambassadors (student recruiters)
In my experience, I would say that the strong majority of the above listed organizations are pretty minimal time commitments, maybe an hour per week. This first group deals more with social stuff than anything, and they are all great (whether they are raising money for a good cause like Law Women does or they're allowing students to get pro bono opportunities). These groups are terrific for meeting people (and to be honest these are the best ways to get involved as a 1L because this second group isn't an option for 1Ls). All of these aforementioned groups are reasonable in their time commitment requirements during your 1L year. Leadership positions will require more time, but it's still very reasonable. This next group is the more 'academic' type student organizations, and if you're interested specifically in one, let me know and I can get you more information.
Moot Court Board: every year the moot court board puts on a bunch of advocacy (trial) stuff, including Advocacy Idol (a 1L competition that consists of an examination of a witness and a closing/opening). They also do the Jenkins Mock Trial competition (for 2Ls and 3Ls to compete in a fake trial competition with real Knoxville Barristers as judges) and the Advocates Prize competition (for 2Ls and 3Ls to compete in, basically a brief writing and oral argument competition--the finals are always judged by someone big, two years ago it was Justice Clarence Thomas, last year it was a panel of Sixth Circuit Judges, next year it will be Justice Elena Kagan). You automatically make it by participating in the Advocates Prize competition; not a huge commitment to be on the board itself, leadership roles probably require an hour per week or so, except for coordinating the events, which takes a lot of time.
Moot Court Teams: we have a ton of moot court teams, including ones in Animal Law, Environmental Law, International Law, Trademark Law, Labor and Employment Law, Evidence, national Moot Court competitions, national Mock Trial competitions, mediation competitions, and more. These are great opportunities to get involved, especially if you're interested in litigation. They're only open to 2Ls and 3Ls, and require a ton of time in preparation (although they are almost always in the spring).
Tennessee Law Review: flagship law publication at UTK, unlike other schools, no one is allowed or barred from grading on--getting onto TLR is a strict write-on competition that takes place during the summer between your 1L and 2L years. You will have a bluebook exam and a case note to compete, and that is an extremely long process (and you only get one shot to make it). For 2Ls, it seems to be a pretty big time commitment that fluctuates in cycles (some weeks are really busy, some weeks have nothing to do) but probably averages out to be 20-25 hours in the fall and 5-10 in the spring (including a monthly meeting). Leadership positions (for 3Ls) requires a lot more time, but it completely depends on the position.
Transactions: business law journal, also only a write-on process that (I think) involves a bluebook exam and a case synopsis. This takes place during the summers after 1L and 2L, and is not limited to people on the business track or those interested in transactional work. I think this journal focuses a lot more on Tennessee law instead of national law, but I could be wrong. Time commitment seems to be a lot less than law review, probably 5-6 hours per semester (in addition to a monthly meeting).
Tennessee Journal of Law & Policy: relatively new journal that is very similar to Transactions, but focuses on policy and government. Same tryout as TLR (bluebook exam and case note), but the time commitment is a lot closer to that of Transactions.
Tennessee Journal of Race, Gender, and Social Justice: brand new online journal dealing with issues about race, gender, and social justice. I think they take 1Ls, but I have no idea about the candidacy process or the time commitment.
None of these organizations (in this second group) is exclusive, so you can do more than one, although you would probably be overloaded if you tried to do more than two or three. These are different from the first group in the sense that they give you a lot of great law-related experience; the journals train you to write and edit so you can become stronger in that sense, while the moot court and mock trial teams give you a better idea of the workload of a trial attorney. This second group is also a great way to distinguish yourself when looking for a job because employers value and recognize these a lot. The time balance between this group and class work is hard and difficult, but as long as you're organized and on top of things, it's very do-able. The time commitment varies from one to another, but I would absolutely recommend every one of these (in the second group) for all students to try and get experience with.
Hope that helps!