Well, I think directory submission is important but not as much as forums. But for the safe doing directory for your site would be great.
Directory submission are fill with many benefits.The backlinks you get from the directories are one way link so they are valuable. Submitting links in relevant categories in directories helps you to increase traffic to your web, and the visitors that you will get through back links.
Even today people do directories submission to generate quality backlinks. Submit your website to quality pr directories is one of the way of getting quality backlinks.
Its better to use every available way to gain backlinks. Whether it'll be directory submissions, blog postings, social bookmarking and even article submissions. Every person has their own unique way of getting links, in my case i use yahoo answers and do a little blog post. In fact i tried a lot.
In my experience manual directory submission is work in SEO. But paid site are granted.
Because maximum free site are work after long time/not publish.
---Want to learn how to make $3750/m? We will help you MAKE MONEY, we will bring you TRAFFIC. Join me! Your Seven Figure Lifestyle