Yes. Part of the job is having conferences with clients in order to take their instructions, ascertain their version of events, and keep them updated with the progress of their case. If the client is in prison, either because they were refused bail or are currently serving a prison sentence, that conference will take place in the prison.
It's pretty common for criminal solicitors to do advocacy in the Magistrates Court, both in interim hearings and at trials. It is less common in the Crown Court because solicitors do not naturally have the rights of audience that they need to appear in the Crown Court, whereas barristers do. However, it is possible to obtain higher rights as a solicitor at represent clients in the Crown Court. The CPS also commonly employ HRAs (Higher Rights Advocates) to prosecute cases rather than barristers.
Fundamentally the job of a criminal solicitor is the same as any other solicitor. You receive cases, you meet with and take instructions from your clients, then you prepare and run their cases to their conclusion. The difference is how the particular area of law impacts on what you do in practice. I've already mentioned that as a criminal solicitor you will likely go to court, which solicitors in other areas of law will virtually never do. In terms of other things that make up those steps, you do search through case law, but there are relatively few criminal cases that turn on legal points. Procedural points are often more important, but you won't learn about criminal procedure in the main on your law degree. But the important point is that whilst you're reading and studying the actual law a lot in your law degree, you would do that relatively little as a criminal solicitor, or indeed any solicitor. What you practically do will depend on what the case requires, and will usually involve things like analysing evidence (and potentially gathering evidence, depending on the nature of it). Negotiating and corresponding with the CPS is certainly part of it. You will often also speak with and take statements from other witnesses that your client may ultimately wish to call at trial. As I say, it's really whatever the case requires. There may well be some criminal barristers or solicitors who can give you more a practical insight. I know all of this from my general knowledge and limited historic experience (I did some crime when I was in pupillage and in the first year or so of tenancy) but I'm not a criminal practitioner, so someone who has more practical experience might be able to offer a more practical answer.