I like to meet with my potential clients and learn more about the case, client expectations, and financial ability before agreeing on a fee. This is one reason I provide free initial consultations. All fee agreements are in writing with a copy provided to the client.
That depends on many things, including how complex the case is, how long it takes to complete our investigation, whether or not the client is in custody, and whether the case proceeds to trial.
I encourage frequent meetings and phone calls with your attorney. The more interaction I have with my client the better the result will be.
More often than not you will have to make at least one court appearance, although there are cases that can be resolved without a court appearance. I always appear personally with my clients to all court appearances.