Since you stated you have an attorney you need to be asking them these questions.
DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.
The smart attorney knows when to keep his or her mouth shut. You are responsible for showing that you cannot perform any of the work you have performed in the past 15 years. Once that happens, the burden shifts to SSA - here the judge - to prove what jobs, if any, you can do. And, with the kind of problems you have, that usually requires testimony from a VE. If the ALJ did not ask any questions, then that would be the correct time for the attorney to keep his or her mouth closed and get out of the room. Best case, the judge approves your claim. Worst case, the judge denies your claim, but you have wonderful arguments for appeal. But, since no one knows for sure what an expert witness will say, if your attorney asks the wrong question, he or she could have cost you the case.
I also agree that you should talk to your attorney about these details. Most attorneys will be happy to explain their reasoning and explain what they did - and if not, that may be information you will need in the future about whether to keep this attorney if you get denied.
I hope that information helps. Best of luck to you!!
The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.
It really depends on the Judge, Often the ALJ just wants the VE to classify past relevant work so they know if you fit into certain rules. Sometimes they have already decided that you are either disabled or could do a broad range of activity. The attorney did the right thing by asking the VE all those questions in case of an appeal. But the attorney will not ask many questions to the VE is going to say there is work available. Simply because the VE says there is no work in a given situation, it doesn't mean you automatically won. There are cases where VE testimony will make or break a case, but it depends a lot on the case itself and the Judge involved.